Business Curfews, Mask Mandate Among Sweeping New MA Restrictions

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BOSTON — Gov. Charlie Baker instituted sweeping new restrictions as coronavirus cases continue to surge across Massachusetts.

Restaurant dine-in service will end at 9:30 p.m., while other businesses, such as gyms, casinos, theaters and liquor stores must close at that time. That gives people 30 minutes to get home before a reinstated stay-at-home advisory goes into effect from 10 p.m. - 5 a.m.

The mask mandate has been expanded to include anyone over the age of 5 in any public setting, regardless of social distancing.

Gathering size limits will be reduced to 10 people at indoor private gatherings and 25 people outside.

The restrictions take effect Friday, and there's no timeline for when they might expire. They come as coronavirus cases continue to surge across Massachusetts, and mark a reversal from months of moves aimed at reopening the state.

"Too many of us have become complacent in our daily lives," Baker said.

The stay-at-home advisory is meant to curb house parties, of which Baker noted he saw many on social media during Halloween weekend. People can still go outside for things like work and grocery shopping.

The mask order still exempts people who have a medical condition, but employers can now require proof from employees who claim such an exemption.

Sunday was the ninth straight day there were more than 1,000 coronavirus cases reported in Massachusetts. There have been more than 155,000 cases since the start of the pandemic.

Other metrics have risen to heights not seen since the spring. Baker said there has been a 300 percent increase in daily cases and 140 percent increase in hospitalizations since Labor Day.

"The data points to a clear need to do something about these trends now," Baker said.

Baker had earlier activated 1,000 members of the Massachusetts National Guard on the eve of Election Day to "protect public safety and the rights of all residents in the event of large-scale gatherings following the election."

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Patch is updating this story

This article originally appeared on the Boston Patch

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