Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker indefinitely postponed the state’s reopening plan and decreased the limits on gatherings after a “slight uptick in positive cases,” he said Friday.
He also authorized state and local police to enforce shutdown orders.
“Due to that slight uptick in positive cases, we are indefinitely postponing step two of phase three in our reopening process,” Baker said.
Baker said contact tracers have documented several pool parties, house parties and holiday celebrations with people not adhering to state guidance. “We cannot move forward at this time, or anytime soon in the near future,” he said.
Additionally, Baker will sign an executive order that will reduce the limit on outdoor gatherings from 100 to 50 people starting Tuesday, he said.
The governor updated state restaurant guidance “to make absolutely clear that alcoholic beverages may only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by food prepared on site,” Baker said.
“Bars masquerading as restaurants also need to be closed,” he said.
To execute the orders, a covert enforcement and intervention team has been created to ramp up enforcement in key communities, Baker said.
The state added 162 positive cases Friday and the seven-day positivity average saw a 0.4% increase, it currently stands at 2.1%, state health officials said.
More details: Baker said the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) and local government officials are cracking down on bars serving chips in an attempt to comply with food service requirements.
“One of the things that’s come up a number of times, is that pretzels and potato chips meets the food service requirement. It clearly doesn’t,” Baker said.
“What we tried to do with the amendment of the order is make absolutely clear. You need to be serving food that’s prepared on site and the people who are in your venue need to order and eat food if they’re gonna order a drink,” Baker said. “That is clearly not consistent with the spirit or the intent of what we put in place when we authorized outdoor dining and indoor dinning.”