State to Mandate Face Coverings, Limit Gatherings and Some Business Hours

November 3, 2020

Massachusetts will mandate face coverings, impose new restrictions on gatherings and limit the hours of some public-facing businesses as officials attempt to control rising cases of COVID-19.

Governor Charlie Baker today announced what he called “targeted interventions” intended to keep schools open, the economy operating and the health-care system stable in the face of a 300 percent increase in cases since Labor Day. He appealed to the public to resume vigilance about social gatherings so the state will not be faced with reversing its four-stage re-opening plan.

“We can’t afford to continue what we’ve been doing,” Baker said.

The interventions announced today include a shelter-in-place order from 10 pm to 5 am, with exceptions for people going to work or grocery shopping.

The governor also issued executive order requiring gyms, casinos, theaters and other public venues to close by 9:30 pm. Restaurants must halt table service by 9:30 pm and liquor sales at package stores and restaurants will also cease by 9:30 pm.

Baker also reduced the limit on indoor private gatherings to 10 people and outdoor gatherings to 25 people.

Massachusetts yesterday reported 1,139 new COVID-19 infections, the ninth consecutive day of 1,000 or more. More than 600 people are hospitalized, including 113 in intensive care units across the commonwealth.

Baker said economic stability depends upon the willingness of every resident to be cautious.

“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 we have work to do,” he said.