COVID-19 Update: Governor Announces Statewide Rollback to Step III, Phase 1 Reopening; Workplace, Office, Retail and Restaurant Guidance Revised; DPH Releases Updated Return to Work Guidance

The Baker-Polito Administration announced several actions yesterday and today in an effort to contain the recent COVID-19 case rise in the Commonwealth.

Governor Announces Statewide Rollback to Phase III, Step 1
This afternoon, Governor Baker announced a statewide rollback to Phase III, Step 1 in the Commonwealth’s Reopening Plan. In the Executive Order, Governor Baker also announced updates to the the protocols governing workspaces, restaurants and indoor dining, and office capacities. These requirements will go into effect on Sunday, December 13.

Changes in this update include but are not limited to:

  • Gyms, stores, offices, and church capacity will be reduced to 40%.
  • The maximum indoor capacity for private gatherings remains at 10 people, while the maximum outdoor capacity for private gatherings will now be 25. The full revised gatherings order can be found by clicking here.
  • Restaurant table capacity will be reduced to 6 persons and total dining time will be limited to 90 minutes.
  • Restaurant diners will be required to wear masks unless actively eating or drinking.
  • Workers will be required to wear masks in all common areas and meeting rooms even where 6ft. social distancing guidelines can be maintained.
  • Employers are asked to allow remote work and telecommuting where possible.

Sector specific guidance will be updated to reflect these changes this week. All information related to Massachusetts’ Reopening Plan can be found by visiting mass.gov/reopening.

DPH Releases Revised Return to Work Guidance
On December 7, 2020, the Department of Public Health revised its return to work guidance, which outlines when workers should quarantine or isolate, and provides guidance on when isolation can end. The guidance also outlines qualifying circumstances that could potentially shorten a strict quarantine period.

An earlier posting of this update incorrectly indicated that restaurant capacity would be decreased to 40%. The post was updated on December 8, 2020 @ 5:25pm.

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