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Gov. Baker Removes 9:30 p.m. Curfew on Restaurants

25 percent capacity caps remain in place for at least another two weeks

Mass. Governor Charlie Baker stands in front of a podium, adjacent an ASL translator, backdropped by American and Massachusetts flags
Gov. Charlie Baker delivers a COVID-19 press briefing from the State House

Effective Monday January 25 at 5 a.m., restaurants and other small businesses in Massachusetts will no longer be required to close their doors at 9:30 p.m. each night. Gov. Charlie Baker announced the decision on January 21 as part of his weekly COVID-19 press briefing. The curfew has been in place since early November 2020.

Gov. Baker credited the decision to better trends in public health data regarding the spread of COVID-19, including fewer hospitalizations and lower percent positive test rates statewide. COVID-19 hospitalizations are down 10 percent since their peak in early January 2021, while the average positive test rate for the disease has decreased by 33 percent over that same period, according to the Governor.

“We all know that we are not out of the woods yet by any means, but things do appear to be getting a bit better here in Massachusetts,” said Baker. He said that the state is now vaccinating all residents in its Phase 1 priority group.

The 25 percent capacity cap on restaurants and other small businesses will remain in place for at least another two weeks, until 5 a.m. on February 8. The caps were initially meant to expire on January 24.

Gov. Baker also gave an update on the state’s small business relief program, announcing that 638 more small businesses had received a combined $37.5 million in grant funding. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said that of those 638 small businesses, nearly 200 were restaurants. To date, the state has awarded $232 million to nearly 5,000 small businesses, with more grants yet to be awarded. The state’s COVID-19 relief fund is funded to the tune of $720 million, and Gov. Baker said the remaining funds will be awarded to small businesses in the coming weeks.

“Last week, the Lieutenant Governor and I visited a North End restaurant and talked to the owner about how this money got he and his staff some financial relief,” said Baker. “As the vaccination program ramps up, we know that many small businesses will still have a tough couple of months ahead of them, and this program is meant to help them bridge that gap and put them in a position to stay open until we get back to something more like normal.”

Gov. Baker Issues New Guidance on Massachusetts Restaurant Curfew [NBCB]
Restaurant Capacity Caps Will Remain in Place in Massachusetts for at Least Two Additional Weeks [EBOS]
Restaurant Capacity Caps Will Remain in Place in Massachusetts for at Least Two Additional Weeks [EBOS]
Massachusetts Announces $668 Million in Relief for Small Businesses, Including Restaurants [EBOS]
Gov. Baker Delivers Press Conference from a North End Restaurant [EBOS]