In order to reduce the potential exposures to COVID-19, Governor Baker has ordered additional limits on the size of gatherings at private residences and other limits on business activities effective Friday November 6, 2020 at 12:01 a.m. As of that date and time, the gathering sizes at private residences will be limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. The gathering limits for public spaces and/or event venues remains the same. However, all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disburse by 9:30 p.m. This order also requires any organizers of gatherings to report known positive COVID-19 cases to local health departments in the community and cooperate with contact tracing efforts. Local law enforcement will be authorized to issue fines of $500 per person for any gatherings that exceed the above-reference limits.
Also effective on November 6th, the Governor ordered certain businesses to close each day from the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. These businesses include:
- Restaurants for in-person dining must stop at 9:30 p.m., but takeout and delivery may continue for food and non-alcoholic beverages
- Liquor stores and other retail establishments selling alcohol must stop at 9:30 p.m., but may sell other products
- Indoor and outdoor events
- Theaters/movie theaters (including drive ins)
- Youth and adult amateur sport activities
- Golf facilities
- Recreational boating and boating businesses
- Outdoor recreational experiences
- Casinos and horse tracks/simulcasts
- Driving and flight schools
- Zoos, botanical gardens, wildlife reserves, nature centers
- Close contact personal services (such as hair and nail salons)
- Gyms, fitness centers and health clubs
- Museums cultural and historic facilities/guided tours
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health also issued an advisory on November 2, 2020, for residents of Massachusetts to stay at home between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 5 a.m. Residents may leave home to go to work or school, or for essential needs (medical appointments, grocery store, pharmacy, take-out food or receiving deliveries). They continue to promote social distancing and wearing of masks.
The Governor has also ordered the wearing of masks in Massachusetts for all persons over the age of 5 years old while in public locations, whether indoors or outdoors. They are not required for children under 5 years of age. Certain exemptions are articulated in this order and include: (1) a person cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition; (2) where it may interfere with the ability to communicate with a person with a hearing impairment or other disability; (3) while inside a car, alone or with another household member; (4) if a governmental agency permits the removal of face covering , such as while eating or drinking, receiving dental care, or swimming; and (5) in other circumstances as determined by the Commissioner of Public health for other circumstances or populations. Copies of the Governor’s orders may be obtained at the Commonwealth’s website - https://www.mass.gov/covid-19-information-for-local-boards-of-health
These recent additional restrictions and other reopening orders in Massachusetts contain many requirements that create confusion for many business owners about how to comply and implement these laws and orders for your business. Please contact my office if you have any questions.