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Today, Governor Baker announced a new set of initiatives aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, especially in higher risk communities that have seen a recent uptick in cases. While Massachusetts has seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since May, there has been a slight uptick in certain communities in recent days. Due to the recent increase in positive cases, Step Two of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan has been postponed indefinitely. Starting next week, additional reporting for town-by-town data will be published weekly to show the spread of COVID-19 at a community level.
1. Governor Baker is signing an updated gatherings order, effective Tuesday, August 11, which will:
2. Restaurant rules have been updated to state that alcoholic beverages may only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by orders for food prepared on-site. The administration will be taking measures to ensure that bars masquerading as restaurants will be closed.
3. A cross-agency COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team will be responsible for ramping up enforcement statewide and coordinating local intervention efforts at the local level in higher risk COVID-19 communities. Communities will be designated as higher risk COVID-19 communities based on public health data, including but not limited to rising trends for new cases and the percentage of positive COVID tests.
4. The Stop the Spread initiative, which provides free testing to residents in targeted communities, will be extended through September 12, 2020. There are currently sites in 17 communities: Agawam, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, Taunton, and Worcester.
5. Statewide enforcement and intervention will include:
For more information see Mass.gov/Reopening.