Acknowledging that recent increases in daily Covid-19 numbers are on the rise, Gov. Baker today called on residents to make renewed sacrifices.
To help them out, effective Nov. 6, mask wearing outdoors all the time by everybody will be recommended; people are being asked to stay inside between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. and restaurants will have to stop serving diners by 9:30 p.m., although they can keep offering takeout after that. Previously, the state had urged people to wear a mask outdoors only if they thought they'd be within six feet of other people.
Indoor gatherings will be limited to 10 people, outdoor ones at 25, he said, adding that all indoor entertainment venues, such as arcades, have to shut at 9:30 p.m.
Otherwise, Baker said, current increases mean the state's hospitals will become overloaded and healthcare workers overworked again by the end of the year,.
"We can't afford to continue to do what we've been doing," which is to let down our guard, Baker said, pointing to a 300% increase in daily new Covid-19 cases, and a 105% increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations since Labor Day.
"Right now we're requesting that you make real sacrifices," to help avoid what happened before, he added.
"What we should not do is shut down our economy or close our schools to deal with this," he said. "Schools are not spreaders, here or anywhere else."
In addition to full-time outdoor mask wearing, the new regulations will limit indoor gatherings to 10 people and outdoor ones to 25. Baker said his administration will be working with individual cities and towns to figure out how to keep young people in particular from having large parties - but he said even older adults need to do things such as cutting out football watching parties and the like.
He said social media over Halloween weekend was full of "hundreds and hundreds of pictures of parties that went way into the night," without social distancing, and that evidence shows the primary source of new cases are "informal" parties.
He said that applies to Thanksgiving: Hours of eating and speaking inside, like at a Thanksgiving dinner, "is really a perfect recipe for Covid to spread."
If enough people follow the new regulations, the state can curb Covid-19 without having to shut down the economy again, he said.
"Do I expect everybody to follow these rules?" he asked. No, he responded, but added that Massachusetts residents have proven very good at following public-health regulations like these.