State Announces Further Gathering Restrictions to Slow Spread of COVID-19

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced further restrictions to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth, including new capacity and gathering limits. These measures will go into effect on Saturday, Dec. 26 and will remain in effect until noon on Jan. 10, 2021.

Effective Dec. 26, most industries in Massachusetts will be subject to a 25% capacity limit, including:

Restaurants (based on permitted seating capacity); close-contact personal services; theaters and performance venues; casinos; office spaces; places of worship; retail businesses; driving and flight schools; golf facilities (for indoor spaces); libraries; lodging (for common areas); arcades and indoor recreation businesses; fitness centers and health clubs; and museums, cultural facilities, and guided tours.

Workers and staff will not count toward the occupancy count for restaurants, places of worship, close-contact personal services, and retail businesses. All other rules and restrictions in existing sector-specific regulations will remain in effect.

Effective Dec. 26, limits on gatherings will also be updated. Indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people. The gathering limits apply to private homes, event venues, and public spaces.

Finally, the Department of Public Health released updated guidance to hospitals around non-essential, elective invasive procedures. To preserve healthcare personnel resources, effective Dec. 26, all hospitals are directed to postpone or cancel all non-essential inpatient, elective, invasive procedures in order to maintain and increase inpatient capacity. Hospitals should make every effort to preserve their inpatient capacity by canceling non-essential electives and redeploying staff. Patients are reminded to still seek necessary care at their hospital or from their healthcare provider.