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Governor Charlie D. Baker '79 announced a number of initiatives to respond to rising coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, including a stay-at-home advisory, a mandate on mask-wearing in public spaces, and a curfew on restaurant service.
Monday’s announcement comes as Massachusetts grapples with a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The state reported 1,139 new cases and 22 new deaths on Sunday.
Baker announced a stay-at-home advisory that will remain in effect from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Residents are advised to stay at home other than to go on walks, go to work, or go to the grocery store.
Baker also announced a more stringent mandate on mask-wearing. The new policy stipulates that everyone over the age of 5 is required to wear a mask in public spaces. Baker had previously encouraged residents to wear masks only in situations where social distancing was not possible.
Baker also announced a cap on indoor gatherings at 10 people and a cap on outdoor gatherings at 25 people.
Restaurants will be required to stop serving seated customers at 9:30 p.m., but can continue providing takeout after that time.
Sharleen Y. Loh '22, an inactive Crimson multimedia editor who is living on campus this semester, wrote in an email that she wasn’t particularly concerned by the newly-announced restrictions on restaurants.
“For the most part, the new curfew hasn't impacted me personally all too much, as I don't leave my room too often & most places are closed by 10 pm,” Loh wrote.
Lucy Frucht '22, who is living in an apartment with friends in the area for the academic year, wrote in an email that she had only eaten at restaurants “a few times” this semester. Frucht wrote that she had been attending an exercise class indoors, following coronavirus safety precautions. She noted that the new restrictions on indoor gatherings could force the class to restrict attendance.
Nonetheless, Denise A. Jillson, the executive director of the Harvard Square Business Association, said the 9:30 curfew could have a significant impact on restaurants already struggling with the economic consequences of the pandemic.
Jillson said many business owners were frustrated by the new policy after implementing previous public health guidelines from the state.
“I think the frustration that some of the restaurateurs expressed is that the guidelines come out, they adhere to the guidelines, everything works the way it should,” Jillson said. “And because other communities are experiencing a surge in cases, Cambridge, along with all the other communities that are doing well, effectively pays the price.”
Jillson added that the recommendations could cause some restaurants to close early for the fall season.
The new policies will take effect at midnight on Friday.
—Staff writer Ellen M. Burstein can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @ellenburstein.
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