Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced Tuesday that all communities in the state will return to Phase 3, Step 1 of reopening beginning Sunday. He said new infections and hospitalizations are "showing disturbing trends."
"We cannot simply wait for the vaccine to get here," he said. "Once again, our health care workers and our healthcare system are being put at risk."
A move back to Phase 3 Step 1 will close certain businesses including indoor performance and high contact indoor recreational facilities. It will reduce the capacity to 40% for most open industries and restaurant tables will return to a maximum of six people, CBS Boston reports.
Limits on outdoor gatherings at event venues will go from 100 to 50. Anyone hosting private outdoor gatherings of over 25 people will have to notify their local board of health.
When eating indoors at a restaurant, patrons will also now have to wear masks unless they are eating and drinking. This means when patrons order, both they and the waiter will be masked.
"Don't go to a friend or a neighbor's house without a mask on, and share food and drink, just because they're your friend," Baker said.
According to the governor, over the last four weeks, confirmed COVID hospitalizations have increased by about 150%, and confirmed cases in the ICU have increased by about 110%. Eleven hospitals across the state are now reporting fewer than 10% of adult inpatient beds open and available.
"The days of most people doing most of the right things are probably not enough," Baker said. "Significantly more people are suffering from severe COVID related illnesses ... and this sharp increase is putting a strain on our healthcare system and our frontline health care workers."
Lt. Gov. Kayrn Polito said, "These restrictions today are targeted ways we can fight back again the second surge of the virus. I urge the public and all industries to take this seriously so that we can keep our businesses open and our economy running."