New COVID-19 Rules on Face Masks, Restaurants, Private Gatherings Start Friday

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Massachusetts residents face new regulations that include an evening stay-at-home advisory, tightens face covering rules, closes some businesses early, reduces size of requires earlier closing times for some businesses and reduces the allowed size of gatherings.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced the changes to the COVID-19 rules this week.

  • The stay-at-home advisory for “unnecessary activities” runs from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
  • Face masks or coverings must be worn in all public places (even if it is possible to stay 6 feet apart)
  • The businesses that must close by 9:30 p.m. include restaurants, movie theaters, indoor and outdoor events and youth and adult sports activities
  • Gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors

Town Manager Michael Driscoll sent out the following information in his Weekly COVID-19 Update:

On Monday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced a series of targeted measures to disrupt the increasing trend of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Governor Baker announced these changes at a time where public health data has indicated that cases are rising, with cases up by 278 percent and hospitalizations up by 145 percent since Labor Day. These measures are meant to disrupt rising trends now, so the Commonwealth can keep the economy and schools open for residents and to prevent the need to roll back to Phase I or Phase II of the reopening plan. All orders and advisories are effective Friday, November 6th at 12:01 AM.

Watertown has a total of 618 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 541 community members have recovered from the virus.

Mass. COVID-19 Regulation Changes

Stay At Home Advisory: The Administration issued a revised Stay At Home Advisory to ensure residents avoid unnecessary activities that can lead to increased COVID-19 transmission. The revised Stay At Home Advisory instructs residents to stay home between 10 PM and 5 AM. The Advisory allows for activities such as going to work, running critical errands to get groceries and address health needs, and taking a walk. Click here to read the revised Stay At Home Advisory:

Early Closure of Businesses and Activities: Governor Baker issued a new executive order that requires the early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30 PM. The 9:30 PM closure requirement is aligned with the Stay At Home Advisory and together the two new initiatives are designed to further limit activities that could lead to COVID-19 transmission. Click here to read the new executive order (including full list of businesses required to close at 9:30 PM).

Face Covering Order: Governor Baker also signed an updated order related to face-coverings. The revised order requires all persons to wear face-coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. The revised order still allows for an exception for residents who cannot wear a face-covering due to a medical or disabling condition, but it allows employers to require employees to provide proof of such a condition. It also allows schools to require that students participating in in-person learning provide proof of such a medical or disabling condition. Click here to read the revised face-coverings order.

Gatherings Order: Governor Baker also signed an updated order restricting gatherings. The new gatherings order reduces the gathering size limit for gatherings at private residences: indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues (e.g. wedding venues) remains the same. The new order also requires that all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 PM. Click here to read the revised gatherings order.

5 thoughts on “New COVID-19 Rules on Face Masks, Restaurants, Private Gatherings Start Friday

  1. Which law enables Baker to issue these orders?

    The 1950s Mass. civil defense act does not include health as an emergency. And attempts to amend it have not succeeded.

    Therefore, Baker is acting illegally.

    And what does being home from 10PM to 5AM have to do with health? Nothing.

    • It has to do with keeping people from socializing without masks and social distancing, which seems to happen late at night, when people are likely to have had too much to drink or smoke and are more casual about following CDC guidelines. It’s about slowing the spread of COVID 19 of course.

    • Oh John, there you go again–using the “F” word! For goodness sake, they are just trying to keep folks from getting sick.

      This virus can do a lot of damage, even to young people. Our area has a lot of college age kids who are not careful. In case you haven’t noticed, we are on the front end of a surge. Public health measures do not equal fascism.

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