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Massachusetts Shrinks Restaurant Capacity to 25% for at Least Two Weeks

The new mandate goes into effect on December 26

Stock photograph of a male chef in a restaurant kitchen, walking behind shelves full of silver pots and pans Per Winbladh/Getty Images

Restaurants, other small businesses, and many other industries throughout Massachusetts are facing new restrictions in the state’s battle against the post-Thanksgiving spike of COVID-19 cases, with Gov. Charlie Baker announcing in his December 22 update that taking action now is meant to slow further spikes over the upcoming holidays that could overrun the already overtaxed hospital system.

Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced that, effective December 26 for at least two weeks, restaurants, casinos, performance venues, and other businesses will have to abide by a 25% capacity cap. (For restaurants, grocery stores, and several other industries under this new mandate, employees don’t count toward the total occupancy.) The goal is to keep people at home as much as possible, only interacting with those with whom they live.

Acknowledging the continuing hardship on the state’s small businesses, Baker noted that he will announce details tomorrow regarding a “significant small business relief fund” that the state is putting together.

“We are grateful and we are thankful for all that you have done throughout this pandemic,” Polito said, directing her message to small business owners and employees. “We know it’s been a sacrifice and we know it’s been a ton of hard work.”

Polito also encouraged Massachusetts residents to buy gift cards, get takeout, etc. in order to help support restaurants and other small businesses.