Winter gatherings a talking point

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BOSTON (SHNS) – The coming colder temperatures will likely bring changes to the way Massachusetts residents have moved their social activities — and major events like weddings — outdoors to accommodate COVID-19 safety measures, and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy suggested this week the impacts of winter weather will be the topic of future discussions.

During a hearing Wednesday on Gov. Charlie Baker’s revised fiscal 2021 budget, House Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz relayed a question from a committee member to Kennealy, asking him if the administration had given any thought to easing restrictions on wedding venues.

“I think everyone that had scheduled a wedding for 2020 was trying to decide how to move forward with their discussions and, obviously, small businesses are hurting and in particular places like those types of size venues,” Michlewitz said. Kennealy said the issue is a difficult one.

“Anything outdoors is safer than anything indoors, and in our view, anything that’s kind of a structured indoor activity is safer than a gathering, and so the indoor gatherings have been something we think we’ve got some particular concerns about, and that’s why we’ve had this 25-person limit on indoor gatherings for some period of time,” he said.

“Of course, we recognize that the ability to have outdoor gatherings may change as the weather gets colder. It’s something that we’re going to have to talk about, but I don’t know if I have any news on that one today, other than just to emphasize that indoor gatherings remain an area of concern for us.”

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