Governor Baker issued a series of new orders updating COVID-19 restrictions following a recent uptick in cases. COVID-19 Orders No. 53, 54, and 55, take effect on November 6, 2020, and impose the following new or amended restrictions:

  • A stay-at-home advisory in effect from 10:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m., with residents urged to stay home except to go to work, for a walk, or to the grocery store.

  • Face coverings are required in all public places, even when people are able to maintain six feet of distance from others (with exceptions for children five and under and individuals with medical conditions that prevent mask wearing).

  • Indoor gatherings in private residences are limited to 10 people maximum (where any non-household members are present).

  • Indoor gatherings at event venues and other public settings are limited to 25 people maximum, subject to six-foot social distancing (which may reduce the maximum number depending upon room size).

  • Outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people maximum.

  • Outdoor gatherings at event venues and other public settings are limited to 50 people, with up to 100 people allowed in “lower risk communities” upon notice to the local board of health.

  • All gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 p.m.

  • Organizers of gatherings must report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department and cooperate with contact tracing.

In addition, the following businesses and activities must close to the public each day between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m.:

  • Restaurants, although takeout and delivery may continue for food and non-alcoholic beverages.

  • Liquor stores and other retail establishments (the sale of nonalcoholic products may continue).

  • Adult-use marijuana sales (not including medical marijuana).

  • Arcades and other indoor and outdoor recreation.

  • Indoor and outdoor events.

  • Theaters/movie theaters (including drive-in movie theaters), and performance venues (indoor and outdoor).

  • Youth and adult amateur sports activities.

  • Golf facilities.

  • Recreational boating and boating businesses.

  • Outdoor recreational experiences.

  • Casinos and horse tracks/simulcast facilities.

  • 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.

  • Indoor and outdoor pools.

  • Museums/cultural & historical facilities/guided tours.

Gathering restrictions do not apply to a number of operations, including:

  • Entities operating under Phase I, II, or III reopening orders (which are subject to sector-specific restrictions).

  • K-12 schools.

  • Polling places.

  • Outdoor gatherings for political expression and religious activities.
  • Municipal legislative bodies (annual and special town meetings, town councils, and city councils).

  • The state legislature, state courts, and the federal government.

Local boards of health, municipal police, the Department of Public Health, and State Police have authority to enforce the new orders, and violations are subject to fines of up to $500 per violation. Each person over the permissible gathering limitation may be treated and counted as a separate violation. Mask violations are subject to $300 fines enforced by local and state health agents with the assistance of police if necessary.

In addition, the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission and municipalities may suspend or revoke an alcoholic beverages license if a restaurant or bar has permitted a violation of the order.

The new orders also allow establishments with alcoholic beverage pouring licenses to apply for annual renewals even if the location is closed during the pandemic.

Please contact a member of Mirick O’Connell’s Public and Municipal Law Group with specific questions on the Governor’s new orders.