Massachusetts governor pauses reopening, reimposes some coronavirus restrictions
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) announced Friday he would pause some reopening measures and reimpose some COVID-19 pandemic restrictions amid an uptick in cases.
Outdoor gatherings in the state must be limited from the previous maximum of 100 people down to 50, with Baker adding that bars in Massachusetts must remain closed, the Boston Globe reported.
“Bars masquerading as restaurants also need to be closed,” he said, adding that he would establish a COVID-19 enforcement and intervention team to ensure residents are following pandemic measures in high-risk areas.
Baker said the government would postpone indefinitely step two of the current phase three reopening plan, as Heath and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders warned, “We have seen an uptick over the last few weeks.”
“Now we are seeing the virus escalate in certain communities around the commonwealth and we have to put together a plan working together to stop it,” Baker said during a State House briefing. “This fight against COVID-19 is far from over.”
He said the reason for imposing stricter pandemic measures was a “notable decline” in pandemic caution that resulted in some residents feeling “a bit too relaxed about the seriousness of this virus.”
Baker added that recent outbreak clusters were stemming from large gatherings and parties hosted and attended by residents not strictly adhering to pandemic guidelines.
According to the Boston Globe, a hotel in the city of Gardner was cited this week for hosting two large gatherings last weekend.
“One of the things we’re trying to do here is to give local communities, local law enforcement, and the State Police the ability to actually issue a fine,” Baker said.
According to Johns Hopkins University data, the Boston area has reported 21,631 cases since the outbreak began, and 1,066 fatalities.
White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx said this week that Boston needs to “get on top” of the small, but concerning uptick in cases across the city, Politico reported.
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