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New coronavirus restrictions take effect in Massachusetts

New coronavirus restrictions take effect in Massachusetts
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A slate of new coronavirus restrictions is taking effect Friday in Massachusetts as COVID-19 cases continue to increase in the state and surge across the country.

Residents over the age of 5 must wear a mask in all public places, even when social distancing is possible, according to the office of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R). The order allows exceptions for “residents who cannot wear a face-covering due to a medical or disabling condition.” 

The governor’s office also issued a revised stay-at-home order calling on residents to remain in their homes between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. unless they are leaving for essential activities like going to work, getting groceries and addressing health needs. 

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Certain businesses across the state will also be forced to close between the hours of 9:30 p.m. and 5 a.m., including restaurants for in-person dining, liquor stores, movie theaters and sports facilities, among others.

Restaurants in the state can continue delivery and takeout services after 9:30 p.m. 

Baker this week also signed an order restricting gathering sizes. Indoor gatherings in both public spaces and private residences in the state are limited to 10 people, while outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 individuals. The order also calls on gatherings to disperse by 9:30 p.m.

Over one-third of cities and towns in Massachusetts are considered high risk for coronavirus, according to CBS Boston. The state as of Thursday has 18,279 estimated active COVID-19 cases and nearly 500 total confirmed hospitalized COVID-19 patients. 

Baker earlier this week said that rising COVID-19 cases point to a “clear need” to take action to slow the spread of the virus.  

"We have a 300 percent increase in daily positive case rate since Labor Day, a 150 percent increase in daily hospital COVID census since Labor Day, and a lot of concern in our health care and hospital community about what this trend will mean if it keeps running for another eight to 10 weeks," the GOP governor said.

The United States on Thursday broke another record of daily coronavirus cases, topping 118,000 new infections in the second straight day that saw over 100,000 new cases.