Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new stay-at-home advisory and mask order along with what amounts to a restaurant curfew on Monday in response to the recent rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in Massachusetts.
"The data points to a clear need to do something about these trends now. What we should not do to deal with these trends is shut down the economy or close our schools," the governor said at a press conference. "The simple truth is this -- too many of us have become complacent in our daily lives. We're doing much better than many other states and many other countries, but here too, we've let down our guard and have work to do."
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The stay-at-home advisory will be in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., with residents urged to stay home except to go to work, for a walk or to the grocery store.
Restaurants will be required to stop providing table service at 9:30 p.m., although they can continue to offer carry out after that time. Liquor sales at restaurants and package stores will also shut down at 9:30 p.m.
Indoor recreational facilities like theaters and casinos, youth and adult sports and adult marijuana sales operations will be ordered to close at 9:30 p.m. as well.
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Encore Boston Harbor released a statement later in the day saying it supports and will adhere to the guidelines and as a result, will close the hotel until at least Dec. 15.
The updated face covering order requires everyone over the age of 5 to wear a face covering in public places. Baker was asked if student athletes would be forced to wear masks while playing, and said he will have more to say on that subject later in the week.
The governor also reduced the limit on indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25 people. All gatherings regardless of size must end and disperse by 9:30 p.m. Fines for violating the gathering order will be $500 for each person above the limit.
The new guidelines take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, and Baker said they will likely remain in place for at least a month. The goal is to stem the rise in cases and keep from having to revert to Phase 1 or Phase 2 of the state's reopening.
"It's time once again for us all to do our jobs," Baker said. "The game here is the same -- it's to bend the trend."
COVID-19 cases are up 278% and hospitalizations up 145% since Labor Day, Baker said Monday.
Massachusetts confirmed 22 new deaths and 1,139 more coronavirus cases Sunday, marking the ninth straight day the state has announced more than 1,000 daily COVID-19 cases.
There have now been 9,788 confirmed deaths and 155,660 cases, according to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. The percentage of coronavirus tests coming back positive, on average, has decreased slightly to 1.8%, according to the report.
The number of patients hospitalized for COVID-19 has decreased to 613. Of that number, 113 were listed as being in intensive care units and 55 are intubated, according to DPH.
There are 121 communities in the state considered at the highest risk for transmitting COVID-19, according to last week's report from DPH which included data on isolated outbreaks.
One such outbreak is at a church in Central Massachusetts that led to the shut down of in-person services earlier this week after a couple dozen people tested positive for COVID-19. Crossroads Community Church in Fitchburg has now been connected to nearly 150 confirmed cases, according to the local board of health.
Officials have traced the source of the rising outbreak to services held at the church on or around Sunday, Oct. 18.
Twenty-eight cases had been linked to the church as of midday Monday, and that number grew significantly over the course of the last week, rising to nearly 150 by 3 p.m. Saturday.
Contact tracers have also pointed to ice and deck hockey as a source of more than 40 confirmed cases, the Fitchburg Board of Health reported.