Gov. Charlie Baker announced a new series of “targeted interventions” today in the continuing fight against COVID-19, as new cases are on the rise throughout Massachusetts (and beyond); some of the interventions target the food and beverage industry. The state has been seeing upward of 1000 new cases daily for more than a week now, and while Baker noted that the solution is not to shut down the economy, too many people have become complacent and let their guard down in terms of wearing masks and distancing.
The new directives mainly take the form of curfews (although Baker didn’t use the word “curfew”) in an attempt to reduce activities where people tend to gather with others outside of their immediate family. There will be a stay-at-home advisory in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.; exceptions include going to work, buying groceries, and performing other essential activities. Indoor entertainment venues, including casinos and theaters, will be required to close at 9:30 p.m.; restaurants must also stop providing table service at that time, although takeout and delivery can continue later. Liquor sales — at restaurants, bars, stores, etc. — will also end at 9:30.
The new rules take effect on November 6 and also include a simplified mask mandate: Everyone above the age of five must wear a face covering in public. There’s no more exception for situations when distancing can be maintained; everyone is expected to wear a mask when out and about.
Baker’s new interventions stop short of a major pullback on the reopening process, such as shutting back down indoor dining and indoor entertainment venues entirely. Some other regions are taking a larger step back right now, such as Chicago, which recently banned indoor dining. In England, a new lockdown means that restaurants country-wide are returning to takeout and delivery only, at least until early December, and a similar lockdown in Montreal that was supposed to end in late October has been extended into late November.