BOSTON (CBS) — Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday that additional COVID-19 restrictions will begin Saturday, Dec. 26 in an effort to curb a post-Christmas COVID surge. The restrictions will be in place for at least two weeks.
The outdoor gathering limit will be reduced to 25 people and the indoor limit will become 10 people, including for events.
“This is part of what we must do during this critical period,” said Baker. “These measures today will help districts bring students back, and bring them back soon.”
Capacity limits will decrease to 25% for the following industries:
- Personal services
- Theaters and performance venues
- Office spaces
- Places of worship
- Driving and flight schools
- Golf facilities for indoor spaces
- Lodging common areas
- Indoor recreation business
- Fitness centers and health clubs
- Cultural facilities and guided tours
Employees in restaurants, places of worship, personal services, and retail business will not count toward the capacity limit.
“We all know that these decisions have very negative ramifications on people’s livelihoods and their families,” Baker said.
Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito spoke directly to business owners: “We are grateful, and we are thankful for all that you have done throughout this pandemic. We know it’s been a sacrifice, and we know it’s been a ton of hard work.”
“It is our goal to keep these measures temporary,” she added.
Also starting on Dec. 26, hospitals will postpone all non-essential, inpatient, elective and invasive procedures, “unless postponement would lead to high risk or significant clinical decline of an individual’s health,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.
“We take this important next step to preserve inpatient bed capacity and our clinical resources, including staffing to redeploy as necessary,” Sudders said.
After Thanksgiving, the intergenerational coronavirus spread was clear based on the people being admitted to hospital, according to Baker.
“The average age was suddenly going up, where it hadn’t for months,” Baker said. “One of the [hospital administrators] even said I could see that transmission from the kid who came home from college delivering it, on an asymptomatic basis, to the senior members of his family.”
The decision to implement the restrictions on Dec. 26 and not earlier is to allow people to safely participate in religious services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.