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Massachusetts Restaurants Can Stay Open Past 9:30 p.m.

25 percent capacity caps remain in place until at least February 8

Stock photograph of a male chef in a restaurant kitchen, walking behind shelves full of silver pots and pans
Curfews have been lifted on Massachusetts restaurants
Per Winbladh/Getty Images

The stay-at-home advisory and early business closure order that required restaurants and other businesses in Massachusetts to close by 9:30 p.m. were each lifted at 5 a.m. on Monday, January 25. Under the order, restaurants were allowed to operate for takeout and delivery beyond 9:30 p.m., but were not permitted to remain open for indoor or outdoor dining.

While restaurants and other businesses are no longer beholden to curfews, 25 percent capacity caps remain in place until at least February 8. The same rules apply to restaurants and businesses in Boston. (The city and state have sometimes diverged in their approaches with regard to business guidelines and restrictions during the pandemic.)

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced the new guidelines at his January 21 press briefing, and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh followed suit a day later.

In his January 25 press briefing, Gov. Baker said the state is able to continue with its reopening plan because public health data is trending in a positive direction. “We hope to be able to continue the reopening process, but obviously we need to continue seeing positive trends to make that happen,” he said.

According to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, there are currently 1,946 people hospitalized with COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. 409 patients are in intensive care units, and 286 are intubated. Massachusetts currently has an estimated 91,507 active cases, with a seven day average percent positivity rate of 4.85 percent. According to Gov. Baker, it’s the first time since late November 2020 that the seven day average percent positivity rate has dropped below 5 percent.

Gov. Baker also announced additional vaccination sites, including sites with so-called “mega capacity” in Danvers (opening February 3 at the Double Tree by Hilton; 50 Ferncroft Rd., Danvers, MA 01923), Roxbury (opening the first week of February at the Reggie Lewis Center; 1350 Tremont St., Roxbury, MA 02120), and Springfield (opening January 29 at the Eastfield Mall; 1655 Boston Rd., Springfield, MA 01129).

The state expects to stand up 103 publicly accessible vaccination sites by January 29, with the capacity to administer 242,000 vaccine shots per week. The number of publicly accessible vaccination sites is expected to grow to 165 by the middle of February, with the capacity to administer 305,000 vaccine shots per week.

Gov. Baker and his administration have come under fire recently for the state’s slow vaccine rollout. According to Bloomberg’s COVID-19 vaccine tracker, Massachusetts has only administered about 49 percent of its available vaccine doses, one of the lowest rates in the country. Massachusetts currently lags behind every state in New England and New York in terms of vaccine doses administered per capita.

Phase 2 of the state’s vaccination program is set to begin on February 1. Phase 2 will prioritize individuals who are 75 or older who weren’t already prioritized in Phase 1. Individuals who are 65 or older, and those who have multiple comorbidities that make them more vulnerable to COVID-19, will become eligible for vaccination in the second part of Phase 2, which will begin in late February. Restaurant workers are among the cohort of “other workers” who will become eligible in the third part of Phase 2. The vaccine should roll out to the general public in April.

To find out when and where you can get the COVID-19 vaccine, visit the state’s website here.

Gov. Baker Removes 9:30 p.m. Curfew on Restaurants [EBOS]
Mayor Walsh Says State’s New Restaurant Rules Apply to Boston Too [EBOS]
Mass. Should Be Nailing The Vaccine Rollout. Why Are Most States Ahead Of Us? [WBUR]
Bloomberg COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker [B]
Massachusetts Lagging Behind Most Other States in COVID-19 Vaccination Rollout [BG]
Phase 2 of the Massachusetts Vaccine Rollout Begins Next Week. Here’s Who that Includes. [BOS]