Governor Charlie Baker’s office announced the extension of current restrictions and new hospital guidance on Thursday, January 7.
The Governor’s order on capacity and gathering restrictions that went into effect on Saturday, December 26, are now in effect until at least Sunday, January 24, two weeks longer than previously announced.
Indoor gatherings remain limited to 10 people. Outdoor gatherings will remain limited to 25 people outside. The gatherings limit applies to private homes, event venues, and public spaces.
Most industries in Massachusetts remain subject to a 25% capacity limit, including restaurants, theaters and performance venues, casinos, office spaces, places of worship, retail businesses, libraries, indoor recreation businesses, fitness and health clubs, museums and other.
Detailed, current restrictions information is available on the state’s website.
New Hospital Guidance
The Governor also ordered hospitals to elevate to Tier 4 of the system created by the Department of Public Health in November as guidance for collaboration between hospitals. Hospitals had been at Tier 3 since the program’s inception.
In Tier 4, the hospitals in each region will meet at least daily, and will continue to collaborate across regions where necessary, to address growing capacity constraints and continue to load balance as needed.
ICU nurse staffing ratio restrictions have also changed. Starting today, hospitals with severe capacity constraints may request a temporary exemption from the mandated nurse-to-patient ratios in the ICU.
This option will only be available to hospitals with capacity of less than 20% who first attest to DPH that they have suspended all nonessential elective invasive procedures, including those conducted in an outpatient setting under the hospital’s license.
Hospitals must take every reasonable step to expand capacity prior to requesting a temporary exemption.