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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:August 7, 2020
Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Initiatives to Stop Spread of COVID-19
Creates Cross-Agency Enforcement and Intervention Team, Ramps up Enforcement
BOSTON – Today, Governor Charlie Baker announced a new set of initiatives aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, especially in higher risk communities that have seen a recent uptick in cases. While Massachusetts has seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since May, there has been a slight uptick in certain communities in recent days.
Today, the Administration announced a set of initiatives, including stricter statewide rules for public and private gatherings and targeted community guidance. The Administration also announced that, starting next week, additional reporting for town-by-town data will be published weekly to show the spread of COVID-19 at a community level. Additionally, previously announced free COVID-19 testing in 17 communities has been extended through September 12.
Governor Baker is signing an updated gatherings order, effective Tuesday, August 11, which will:
Due to the recent increase in positive cases, step two of phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan has been postponed indefinitely.
Restaurant rules have been updated to state that alcoholic beverages may only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by orders for food prepared on-site. The administration will be taking measures to ensure that bars masquerading as restaurants will be closed.
Public safety officials, including state and local law enforcement, have the jurisdiction to enforce these orders and event hosts in violation of these orders will be subject to fines or cease and desist orders.
To read the gatherings order, click here.
To read the updated restaurant protocols, click here.
Cross-Agency COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team:
The Administration also announced a targeted cross-agency COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team that will be responsible for ramping up enforcement statewide and coordinating local intervention efforts at the local level in higher risk COVID-19 communities.
Communities will be designated as higher risk COVID-19 communities based on public health data, including but not limited to rising trends for new cases and the percentage of positive COVID tests.
Member agencies include the Executive Office and Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) and the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), who will serve as coordinators of the team, the Command Center, the Massachusetts State Police (MSP), the Department of Labor Standards (DLS), the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL), the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Division of Local Services (DLS), the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) and the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS).
Stop the Spread:
Last month, the Administration launched the Stop the Spread initiative, which provides free testing to residents in targeted communities throughout the Commonwealth.
There are currently sites in 17 communities: Agawam, Brockton, Chelsea, Everett, Fall River, Framingham, Lawrence, Lowell, Lynn, Marlborough, Methuen, New Bedford, Randolph, Revere, Springfield, Taunton, and Worcester.
The initiative is a data-driven focused effort to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities that are above the state average in total cases, positive test rate, and have experienced a decline in testing levels since April. These sites are open to all residents of the Commonwealth.
Today, the Administration announced the extension of free testing in these 17 communities through September 12.
Statewide Enforcement and Intervention will include:
For more information click here.