Governor Charlie Baker announced on Thursday that he would begin lifting some coronavirus restrictions in Massachusetts as the state sees improvement in test positivity rates and hospitalizations.
Baker told reporters that he would lift the stay at home advisory and the measure requiring many businesses to close by 9:30 p.m. as of Monday, saying that COVID-19 numbers in the state are trending in the right direction.
“Effective Monday, Jan. 25 at 5 a.m. the early closure business order and the stay at home advisory will be lifted,” Baker said.
The announcement means that restaurants and other affected businesses that had been forced to close their doors by 9:30 p.m. each night will now be able to operate past that time. The restrictions have been in place since November, when coronavirus cases in Massachusetts were surging.
“The decision to place any type of restriction on businesses is not one that any of us takes lightly and we appreciate that there’s been an exceptional impact on nearly every sector of our economy” Baker said.
Baker said capacity limits announced in November would remain in place for at least another two weeks, and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said the announcement did not affect businesses that are currently required to remain closed, such as indoor performance venues.
“At this time we’re keeping in place the across the board 25 percent capacity limits,” he said.
He added that if COVID-19 numbers continue to improve, he would revisit remaining restrictions.
“As hospitals continue to stabilize after the holidays and the average positive case rate declines, we hope to see those trends continue moving forward. And if they do, we’ll be back to talk about lifting some of the restrictions that are currently in place as soon as it makes sense to do so,” he said.
This breaking news story will be updated.