After Christmas, lines may be longer at Massachusetts stores and some gatherings will need to be smaller -- that's when new coronavirus restrictions go into place in the state.
Gov. Charlie Baker outlined the temporary new restrictions Tuesday. The 25% occupancy limit affects a wide range of sectors, from restaurants and retail businesses to houses of worship and offices. Gathering sizes and events are being limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, and hospitals are also being told to cancel some non-essential surgical procedures.
The goal, Baker said, is to limit how much people interact over the festive period to avoid the kind of spike Massachusetts saw after Thanksgiving.
"Here we are coming into this second big season with respect to the holiday, and we think it's critically important for people to hear us when we say people really need to spend this in a very conservative and cautious and careful way," Baker said at a news conference.
Below, read the announcement of the restrictions sent out by the Baker administration Tuesday:
Effective Saturday, December 26, most industries in Massachusetts will be subject to a 25% capacity limit including:
- Restaurants (based on permitted seating capacity)
- Close Contact Personal Services
- Theatres and Performance Venues
- Office Spaces
- Places of Worship
- Retail Businesses
- Driving and Flight Schools
- Golf Facilities (for indoor spaces)
- Lodging (for common areas)
- Arcades and Indoor Recreation Businesses
- Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
- Museums, Cultural Facilities and Guided Tours
Workers and staff will not count towards the occupancy count for restaurants, places of worship, close contact personal services, and retail businesses.
All other rules and restrictions in each sector-specific guidance will remain in effect.
Effective Saturday, December 26, the gatherings limits will be updated. Indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people. Outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people outside.
The gatherings limit applies to private homes, event venues and public spaces.
The Department of Public Health released updated guidance to hospitals around nonessential, elective invasive procedures. To preserve health care personnel resources, effective 12:01am on December 26, all hospitals are directed to postpone or cancel all nonessential inpatient elective invasive procedures in order to maintain and increase inpatient capacity. Hospitals shall make every effort to preserve their inpatient capacity by cancelling nonessential electives and redeploying staff.
Patients are reminded to still seek necessary care at their hospital or from their health care provider.