Massachusetts Is Easing Some COVID Restrictions Next Week. Here's What to Know

The state's stay-at-home advisory and early closing order for businesses are set to be lifted Monday

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The Massachusetts stay-at-home advisory and an early closing order for businesses will expire next week as health officials see encouraging trends in the state's COVID-19 data.

An order that requires all businesses close by 9:30 p.m. concludes Monday, but businesses still won't be able to exceed 25% capacity. That restriction will stay in place for at least another two weeks, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday.

Baker is also lifting the stay-at-home advisory, which asked residents to stay home between 10 p.m. and 5 p.m. and, during the day, to avoid going out except for essential activities like grocery shopping.

Additionally, liquor stores and other establishments that sell alcohol, as well as adult use cannabis retailers, will be allowed to sell those products past 9:30 p.m.

Gatherings and events may continue past that time as well, but remain subject to current capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced changes to some of Massachusetts' COVID-19 restrictions.

Here's what to know:

Effective 5 a.m. Monday, Jan. 25, the following businesses can operate past 9:30 p.m.:

  • Restaurants
  • Arcades & Other Indoor & Outdoor Recreation (Phase 3, Step 1 only)
  • Indoor and Outdoor Events
  • Movie Theaters
  • Outdoor Theaters
  • Drive-In Movie Theaters
  • Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities
  • Golf Facilities
  • Recreational Boating and Boating Businesses (e.g. charter boats)
  • Outdoor Recreational Experiences (includes haunted houses)
  • Casinos and Horse Tracks/Simulcast Facilities
  • Driving and Flight Schools
  • Zoos, Botanical Gardens, Wildlife Reserves, Nature Centers
  • Close Contact Personal Services (e.g. hair and nail salons)
  • Museums/Cultural & Historical Facilities/Guided Tours
  • Gyms/Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
  • Indoor and Outdoor Pools
All home health care workers and health care workers not working with COVID patients are now eligible for vaccinations.

Baker announced Thursday that he would roll back some restrictions that were implemented in November because coronavirus hospitalizations and the state's average positive test rate were "trending in a better direction" after spiking from the holiday season.

"Vaccines are reaching residents, positive case rates and hospitalizations have stabilized; those trends are moving in the right direction," Baker said. "As a result, we believe it's OK and it's time to start a gradual easing of some of the restrictions we put in place in the fall."

The announcements do not impact guidance given to schools.

The governor said hospitalizations had decreased by 10 percent since peaking in early January, and the average positive test rate had fallen by 33 percent during the same time period -- metrics that give the administration confidence to loosen restrictions.

The moves were part of a spate of COVID-19-related measures announced Thursday, including COVID-19 vaccinations being made available to more health care workers as part of Phase 1 of its vaccination plan.

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