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CHICOPEE – Beginning Friday, November 6, 2020, at 12:01 a.m., Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker reinstates the Stay-At-Home Advisory for 10 P.M. to 5 AM. According to the Advisory, all residents of Massachusetts are instructed to stay home between those hours except for necessary activities including working, addressing health needs, going to the grocery store, or gas station.
To combat a rise in COVID-19 cases that threatens to overwhelm the health care systems in Massachusetts by the end of the year, Governor Baker announced a series of new orders on Monday, November 2, 2020, intended to slow the spread of the virus, including a business closing requirement, and a revised face-covering mandate for all public places.
COVID-19 Order No. 54 – Revised Limits on Gatherings
Reduced gathering size limit at private residences: indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 people. Gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues remain at the same limits (Maximum: 25 indoors / 50 outdoors). All gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 PM. The new rules do not apply to religious activities or political gatherings.
Also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and require organizers to cooperate with contact tracing.
The order allows a fine of $500 per person above the limit at a particular gathering.
COVID-19 Order No. 55 - Face Covering Order Expanded
Everyone (over the age of 5) is required to wear a mask or face-covering over their mouth and nose when in public places, whether indoors or outdoors, regardless of whether they can physically distance from others. Face coverings are encouraged but not required for children ages 2-5 years.
Allows schools to require that students participating in in-person learning provide proof of such a medical or disabling condition.
Public locations include any locations open to the public including, but not limited to, grocery stores, streets and ways, parks, public transportation, or other ride-sharing or carpooling vehicles with non-household members.
People with a medical or disabling condition that prevents wearing a face covering are exempt from this requirement. Employers can require employees to provide proof of such a condition. Schools can require students participating in in-person learning to provide proof of such a condition.
The order allows fines of up to $300 per violation.
COVID-19 Order No. 53 - Reopening Protocols & Business Restrictions
Early closure of certain businesses and activities is required each night at 9:30 PM. The 9:30 PM closure requirement is aligned with the Stay At Home Advisory.
Certain businesses, facilities, and activities (in-person dining, liquor stores, movie theaters, sports venues, gyms, and others) must close their premises to the public each day from 9:30 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. Restaurants must end table service at 9:30 p.m., although take-out service can continue later. All alcohol sales will be also be prohibited after 9:30 p.m.
This order may result in a civil fine of up to $500 per violation.
The Massachusetts Department of Health continues to show the City of Chicopee ranked as red/high-risk on the COVID Traffic Map. The steady increase in COVID-19 cases has sustained the city’s risk level, marking three consecutive weeks as of Monday, November 9, 2020. The City of Chicopee has 155 open cases to-date, this total is more than double the number of cases in the city from three weeks ago [74 – on 10/22/2020] when the risk level was assigned.
“The last few weeks have highlighted the public perspective on the challenge we are facing BUT the solution will not come from government orders alone,” emphasized Mayor John L. Vieau. “ It needs to come from us - the people of Chicopee. You and I are the people that make up our communities. We are an essential part of the solution. We are the ones that need to behave responsibly and gratefully toward one another.”
Vieau continued, “Our lives are unavoidably different in the time of COVID-19, and they’re likely to stay that way until this outbreak is contained or a vaccine becomes available. This is what our lives look like now. It’s everyone with a mask on. It’s everyone socially distanced. This is a call to all of us! It is only by recognizing the significance of the part each of us plays in defeating this pandemic that we will increase our chances to succeed.”
“We need to be formidable in our efforts to combat these rising COVID case numbers. Our residents need to take COVID-19 seriously. We are all at increased risk of contracting this virus if people continue to ignore the importance of following the orders put forth by Governor Baker,” said Lisa Sanders, Chicopee Board of Health Director.
Please visit Mass.Gov/MaskUp for information and best practices related to face-coverings and the Reopening Massachusetts website for the latest details on Massachusetts’s reopening process.