Starting Friday, everyone above the age of five in Massachusetts will be required to wear a mask or facecovering in public -- regardless of whether social distancing is practiced -- and restaurants and entertainment venues will be subject to a 9:30 p.m. curfew, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Monday.
Effective 12:01 a.m. Friday, the gathering limit will be reduced to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors; the Department of Public Health will issue a stay at home advisory that tells people to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. except to go to work or for essential purposes; casinos, indoor recreation facilities, theaters and other entertainment venues must close by 9:30 p.m.; restaurants must cease table service by 9:30 p.m.; and liquor sales at restaurants, package stores, grocery stores and convenience stores must end by 9:30 p.m.
"Since Labor Day, which is 55 days ago, the number of new cases per day has grown by almost 300 percent and over the same period of time the number of people hospitalized on a daily basis is increased by 145 percent," Baker said Monday. "Those trends are obviously heading in the wrong direction ... and the data points to a clear need to do something about these trends."
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Monday morning that he had spoken with Baker about the new orders and supports them "wholeheartedly." The mayor spoke before the effect of Baker's new orders was publicly known.
"Friday, my chief of health and human services Marty Martinez talked about the need, potentially, of rolling back restaurants in the city of Boston, the need for potentially having to roll back gatherings. We don't want to go there," Walsh said. He added, "Before we take drastic measures and shut everything down, we have to try and control this virus ... what he's announcing today I support wholeheartedly."
There were 2,431 new COVID-19 cases confirmed in Massachusetts over the weekend, 10,013 people with confirmed or probable cases of the virus have died here since mid-March, and the autumn resurgence of the virus appears to be underway. The state has reported more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 each day for more than a week.
On Friday, Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo announced that she was cutting her state's gathering limit from 15 to 10 people, prohibiting spectators at youth sporting events for the next two weeks, curtailing visits at hospitals and nursing homes, and closing indoor athletic facilities for one week. She said Rhode Island was "on a path" to opening a field hospital in the next few weeks, according to WPRI.