BOSTON (SHNS/WWLP) – Citing a stabilization of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the start of the year, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday that he will lift the 9:30 p.m. curfew that many businesses now operate under effective Monday.
This new change means no more 10 p.m. curfew for residents and businesses will be able to return to normal hours. Local business owners are excited and relieved- saying this will really help.
“These have been long and hard days for everybody, but our hospital system was able to continue to provide medical care for residents. And today, three weeks into 2021, our public health data is trending in a better direction for some categories like hospitalizations and the percent of positive COVID cases for the first time in a long time,” Baker said.
He added, “Vaccines are reaching residents, positive case rates and hospitalizations have stabilized; those trends are moving in the right direction. As a result, we believe it’s OK and it’s time to start a gradual easing of some of the restrictions we put in place in the fall.”
While restaurants, health clubs, casinos, movie theaters, and other businesses will be able to stay open later than 9:30 p.m. next week, they will still not be allowed to put fill their places of business to greater than 25 percent capacity.
Baker announced that restriction will remain in place for at least another two weeks more. The governor will also lift the state’s stay at home advisory effective Monday at 5 a.m., he said.
“While today’s announcement reflects another step toward normalcy, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to suppress the pandemic once and for all and to fully reopen our economy,” Baker said.
“As a sports-based bar, especially with the Super Bowl right around the corner, everyone was asking what we were going to do the Super Bowl and this saves us from having to kick people out at the end of a super bowl where it could be a close game,” said Billy Stetson, owner of Rumbleseat Bar and Grill.
Stetson added that the last two weeks they were forced to close in the middle of a Sunday night football game – so these lifted restrictions come at the perfect time. As of Monday, the Rumbleseat will once again stay open until 1 a.m. But unfortunately, they and all other businesses will have to remain at 25 percent capacity for at least another two weeks.
Gov. Baker said the drop in hospitalizations and cases suggest it is time to begin easing up on some restrictions.
“We all know that we are not out of the woods yet by any means but things do appear to be getting a bit better here in Massachusetts,” Baker said.
All other restrictions currently in place, like the 90-minute time limit at restaurants, having to order food with drinks, masks, and social distancing will remain in place.
Gov. Baker added that if these downward trends continue he will begin to lift even more restrictions.