Stay-at-home advisory: Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker sets curfew, requires businesses to close by 9:30 p.m. nightly - masslive.com

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued a new stay-at-home advisory Monday asking all residents to be in their homes from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily and ordered restaurants to stop table service at 9:30 p.m. to ensure customers can get home in time.

The stay-at-home advisory takes effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday. The state allows exceptions for going to work, seeking medical care, going to the grocery store and picking up take-out food.

“We’re doing much better than many other states and many other countries, but hereto we’ve let down our guard,” he said.

The curfew also applies to all gatherings under an order that accompanies the stay-at-home advisory. The state is limiting private get-togethers to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces, such as weddings, remains the same.

Those who violate the gatherings order face a fine of $500 per infraction.

Businesses that sell alcohol that violate the gatherings order, including hosting large gatherings after hours, could face a fine and could get their license suspended, revoked or canceled.

The state also issued an expanded mask mandate, which requires people to wear masks even if they are 6 feet away from others. Like the other restrictions, the mandate takes effect Friday.

MassLive first reported Monday that the Baker administration planned to make businesses close early to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Under the new requirements, restaurants must close by 9:30 p.m. The state also plans to crack down on house parties in hopes of reducing the spread of COVID-19 among young people.

Baker said the curfew suggested in the advisory also applies to liquor stores, recreational marijuana sales, theaters, youth and adult recreational sports, gyms, pools, museums, driving ranges, casinos, driving and flight schools, zoos, botanical gardens, nature centers and other businesses.

The governor’s announcement comes after more than a week of new COVID-19 cases topping 1,000 daily. State health officials reported on Sunday 1,139 new cases and 613 hospitalizations involving both confirmed and suspected COVID-19 cases.

Baker said again on Monday that the largest source of spread appears to be household transmissions and particularly private gatherings such as parties.

“Folks need to postpone or rethink big get togethers,” Baker said. “These are places where COVID spreads.”

The Community Tracing Collaborative has hired 305 more people who speak languages other than English, said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. The new hires join the 661 employees at the collaborative helping to determine how COVID-19 is spreading in Massachusetts.

Steve Walsh, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association, said the organization fully supports the measures.

“The commonwealth has reached yet another critical point with this virus. Now is the time to reinvigorate our focus on stopping the spread," he said. “Our healthcare organizations and caregivers are counting on those in their communities to do their part and follow the life-saving guidance put forth by state and public health leaders.”

Carlene Pavlos, executive director of the Massachusetts Public Health Association, said the changes were too little too late.

“We appreciate that Governor Baker recognizes that new actions must be taken to contain the surge in COVID cases, but he missed the opportunity to take the kinds of bold actions needed to protect all residents of Massachusetts,” Pavlos said.

The MPHA recommends the state release data showing social gatherings are the main source of the spread, bolster safety inspections at workplaces to ensure businesses are following the safety precautions with their employees and customers, create a plan to prevent evictions and homelessness and implement a plan to prevent infections in jails and prisons.

“Each of us must take responsibility to stop the spread, but COVID can’t be stopped by personal responsibility alone," Pavlos said. Workers, people who need to double up in apartments because they were evicted, people living in shelters, and people who are incarcerated are just some of the folks suffering the most through no fault of their own.”

Paul Diego Craney, a spokesman for the Fiscal Alliance Foundation, said the new restrictions amount to government overreach.

“Massachusetts residents and small businesses have done an excellent job at heeding the warning and can act responsibly on their own without the Governor’s limitless orders that look to punish anyone who disobeys his orders,” Craney said.

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https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2020/11/stay-at-home-advisory-massachusetts-gov-charlie-baker-sets-curfew-require-businesses-to-close-by-930-pm-nightly.html