Effective December 26, 2020, Massachusetts businesses will see additional restrictions on occupancy capacity and gathering sizes. These new measures, which were announced by Governor Charlie Baker, are intended to prevent a post-Christmas surge of COVID-19 infections. Massachusetts saw significant increases in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the pandemic following the Thanksgiving holiday, when many people failed to heed recommendations to avoid large gatherings. The Governor hopes that these new restrictions will avoid a further spike in COVID-19 numbers following Christmas.
The new restrictions limit occupancy capacity to 25% for most industries, including offices, restaurants, personal services, retail, health clubs, places of worship, and others. The 25% capacity limit does not include workers and staff for restaurants, retail establishments, and places of worship. The maximum number of people who may gather together has also been reduced to 25 people for outdoor gatherings and 10 people for indoor gatherings, including gatherings in private homes. These restrictions will remain in place for at least two weeks.
Even though these new restrictions do not go into place until the day after Christmas, the Governor repeated his pleas for people to limit their holiday celebrations to members of their own households.