Residents Urged to Limit Gatherings, Recognize Holidays Responsibly Amid COVID-19
GLOUCESTER — Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Caroll report that new, temporary measures are being put in place by the state beginning this weekend to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced today that he is issuing an Executive Order effective Saturday, Dec. 26 through Sunday, Jan. 10, which temporarily reduces occupancy limits to 25% for several sectors including office spaces, restaurants, places of worship, businesses and fitness centers. The order also temporarily reduces the number of people permitted to attend indoor and outdoor functions at event venues, and at outdoor performance venues.
“Positive cases have been on the rise steadily for several weeks now across the Commonwealth, and we need to continue to take steps to stop the spread to protect ourselves, our loved ones and our communities,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “We know these restrictions place a burden on businesses and workplaces, but these are steps that are being taken to save lives. We urge everyone to please do their part and adhere closely to this newest order, and to continue limiting gatherings, practicing social distancing, wearing a mask, washing your hands and staying home when sick.”
“This holiday season, we strongly advise against holding gatherings with those from outside of your household, and encourage everyone to celebrate with the people they live with and virtually with other family and friends,” Carroll said. “We need to stop the spread. Case numbers are reaching an all time high statewide and Gloucester remains a high-risk community for COVID-19 due to the recent uptick in cases.”
Changes made by the new, temporary order include:
- Office spaces must reduce their capacity to 25%
- Public safety, public health and other critical services are exempt and no approval is required for these exemptions.
- A reduction of occupancy levels from 40% to 25% in restaurants, places of worship, retail businesses, driving and flight schools, fitness centers and health clubs, close contact personal services, libraries, arcades, indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, museums, cultural and historical facilities, guided tours, movie theaters (a maximum of 50 people will be allowed per theater), casinos and indoor golf facilities.
- Employees and staff at restaurants, personal services, places of worship and retail businesses do not count toward the overall occupancy limit.
- The reduction in occupancy limits from 40% to 25% does not apply to manufacturing, laboratories, drive-in movie theaters or construction sites.
- Indoor event venues will be limited to a maximum of 10 people at a time.
- Outdoor event venues will be limited to a maximum of 25 people at a time.
- Limitations to indoor and outdoor private gatherings remain the same under the new Executive Order. Indoor private gatherings are limited to 10 people and outdoor private gatherings are limited to 25 people.
- Outdoor performance venues remain at a 25% occupancy limit, but the maximum number of people permitted at such venues will be reduced to 25 from 50.
- School districts serving students in kindergarten through grade 12 are exempt from the capacity limits outlined in the latest Executive Order and must continue to follow guidelines and expectations outlined by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE).
Today, the Department of Public Health also advised hospitals to postpone or cancel all nonessential inpatient elective invasive procedures to preserve their inpatient capacity. However, everyone is reminded to continue to seek necessary care from their hospital or health care provider.
For the latest updates regarding the status of the pandemic in Gloucester, visit the City’s website here.