City, Coronavirus, News

Baker issues another stay-at-home advisory, downsizes acceptable gatherings

Gov. Charlie Baker issued Monday a stay-at-home advisory and several executive orders to address the state’s uptick in COVID-19 cases. 

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker issued a stay-at-home advisory Monday in response to an uptick in the state’s COVID-19 cases. ILLUSTRATION BY LAURYN ALLEN/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations have increased by 278 percent and 145 percent, respectively, since Labor Day, according to a state press release.

Effective Friday, restaurants must stop table service at 9:30 p.m. but can continue to offer carryout orders. All liquor sales must end at 9:30 p.m.

Recreation facilities, including theaters, museums and sport facilities, must close by 9:30 p.m.

Anyone over five years old must wear a face covering in public, including when outdoors and when six feet apart from others.

The order restricts gatherings at private homes to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. All gatherings, with limited exceptions, must end by 9:30.

Baker said during Monday’s press conference that social gatherings have contributed to the uptick.

“Too many of us have become complacent in our daily lives,” Baker said. “We’re doing much better than many other states and many other countries, but here, too, we’ve let down our guard and we have work to do.”

Individuals who make better choices can help change the trajectory of the virus in Massachusetts, Bakers said.

“What we should not do to deal with these trends is shut down our economy or close our schools,” Baker said. “Schools are not spreaders.”

The goal of the orders is to have residents home with their household by 10 p.m., Baker said.

“We can’t afford to continue to do what we’ve been doing,” Baker said. “Whenever possible, avoid gathering, no matter the location, with people outside your household.”

People should get tested for COVID-19 at one of the state’s 18 free Stop the Spread testing sites, Baker said, or at other local testing sites.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said the state has stockpiled personal protective equipment and ventilators, increased contact tracing and testing since the spring, and has the ability to build field hospitals if necessary.

Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders said the state’s COVID-19 dashboard has been reorganized to highlight data important to understanding how the virus is affecting the state.

The dashboard now includes numbers on case growth by age group, Sudders said. It will be updated daily at 5 p.m.

The state will launch a “highly interactive” dashboard early next year, Sudders said.

HHS has also authorized 305 more hires for contact tracing efforts, which Sudders said will bring the state’s team to 1,070 members. The state will prioritize hiring those who can speak languages other than English.

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