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Governor Baker institutes new sweeping COVID-19 restrictions due to virus spread

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Governor Baker announced in a Tuesday afternoon press conference new COVID-19 guidelines ahead of the holidays.

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020, Massachusetts will implement temporary capacity limits to stop the spread of COVID-19 as cases and hospitalizations rise. Businesses must adhere to the following capacity limitations. The revised limits below supersede existing limits in the Phase 3, Step 1 Sector-Specific Protocols. Except for the specified adjustments to capacity limitations, all other terms of COVID-19 gatherings order (including exceptions) and all sector-specific workplace safety rules remain unchanged. These limits are in effect until January 10, 2021 unless further extended by the Governor.

Gatherings (adjusting Order No. 57)
10 persons indoors
25 persons outdoors
applies to both private homes and event venues and public spaces

Restaurants
25% of seating capacity
(a) workers/staff excluded from occupancy count;
(b) applies separately to indoor and outdoor capacity

Close Contact Personal Services
25%
workers/staff excluded from occupancy count

Indoor and Outdoor Events
10 persons indoors
25 persons outdoors
workers/staff excluded from occupancy count

Theaters and Performance Venues
(Indoor performance venues remain closed)

Movie theaters – 25% and maximum 50 people

Outdoor performance venues – 25% and maximum 25 people

Casinos
25%
MGC to re-issue capacity rules as necessary

Office Spaces
25%

Places of Worship
25%
workers/staff excluded from occupancy count

Retail Businesses
25%
workers/staff excluded from occupancy count

Driving and Flight Schools
25%

Golf Facilities
25%
applies only to indoor spaces

Libraries
25%

Operators of Lodgings
25%
applies only to common areas

Arcades & Other Indoor & Outdoor Recreation Businesses
25%

Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
25%

Museums / Cultural & Historical Facilities / Guided Tours by vehicles and vessels
25%

Sectors Not Otherwise Addressed
25%

Common Areas in facilities subject to EEA-issued COVID-19 safety rules
25%
applies only to indoor spaces and excludes youth and amateur sports facilities

General Provision: Where no licensed or permitted capacity allowance is on record and for any enclosed space within a larger facility, occupancy shall be limited to no more than 5 persons per 1,000 square feet.

Also, the Department of Public Health released updated guidance to hospitals around nonessential, elective invasive procedures. To preserve health care personnel resources, effective 12:01am on December 26, all hospitals are directed to postpone or cancel all nonessential inpatient elective invasive procedures in order to maintain and increase inpatient capacity. Hospitals shall make every effort to preserve their inpatient capacity by cancelling nonessential electives and redeploying staff.

Patients are reminded to still seek necessary care at their hospital or from their health care provider.

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