Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced the state would issue a stay-at-home advisory between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. for residents in the state and 9:30 p.m. curfews for most businesses as part of an attempt to slow the spread of coronavirus which has surged recently.
The order goes into effect Friday.
“The simple truth is this — too many of us have become complacent in our daily lives,” Baker said.
“If we do nothing … we’ll create capacity problems for our health care system by the end of the year,” he continued.
The curfew order requires restaurants and other businesses to close by 9:30 p.m., Baker said.
Theaters, restaurant table service and entertainment spaces must close at 9:30 p.m. Takeout may continue later. In addition, private indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people and 25 people for outdoor gathering, Baker said.
Liquor stores, grocery stores and convenience store hours will also be required to end at 9:30 p.m.
The governor made the announcement at an afternoon press conference.
The changes are outlined in a series of executive orders signed Monday. The stay-at-home advisory will be issued by the Department of Public Health.
“These targeted measures are intended to reduce activities where people gather in groups, and get them home with only members of their household by 10 p.m.,“ Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said.
In addition, Baker also said the state’s standing orders on masks would be updated to require people to wear masks in public spaces even when they can maintain 6 feet of distance between other people. The order still allows for an exception for residents who cannot wear a face-covering due to a medical or disabling condition.
Baker stressed that schools would not be shut down by the orders announced Monday.
“Schools are not spreaders,” Baker said.
The governor’s announcement comes after the ninth consecutive day of new COVID-19 cases exceeding 1,000 per day and as the state appears headed for a dreaded and long-predicted second surge. On Sunday, the number of virus-related deaths surpassed 10,000.
More than two-thirds of Massachusetts residents live in communities considered high-risk for community spread, according to the state’s list that last week rated 121 cities and towns at the highest risk level. On Monday, 15 communities were forced to move back to the first step of phase 3 reopening.
The Baker administration had so far resisted calls from public health officials to roll back the reopening, even as health metrics indicate community spread is on the rise.
Instead, the administration has in recent weeks focused its efforts on education campaigns targeting residents from high-risk communities and young people, who are fueling the latest surge in cases.