By Sam Foley
The second wave of Coronavirus cases has recently hit the US, with all-time highs in cases and hundreds of thousands of new infections per day. So what new restrictions will be put in place to stop this sharp spike in cases? The state of Massachusetts has issued some new travel, curfew and gathering restrictions as the holiday season approaches in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus.
Over the past few months, Massachusetts has had relatively low rates of Covid-19. Since June, there has been an average of 200-500 cases per day. However, at the end of October, the second wave hit and new cases have been above 1000 most days, even reaching 3,047 cases on November 14th, according to The New York Times.
The first set of restrictions to be put in place are new travel restrictions for people returning from other states. As of November 14th, only four states are considered safe enough where people returning do not have to quarantine or provide a negative test. These states are Vermont, New Hampshire, Hawaii and Maine. Any people returning from high risk states have to either quarantine for 14 days, or provide a negative test. Many states around the country have had a large spike in cases, and this restriction is trying to stop the spread from any other states.
The second part of the new restrictions is a curfew that stops people from leaving their houses for non-essential reasons from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.. This curfew also doesn’t allow businesses like restaurants or bars to serve food and drinks to customers after 10 p.m..
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker said he understands that the regulations are ‘disruptive’ to the restaurant industry, but added that it’s better to take targeted measures now rather than suffer the consequences in several weeks. Although the curfew may hurt business, the goal is to make sure there aren’t large unnecessary gatherings of people when there doesn’t need to be.
Lastly, the laws regarding large gatherings have been tightened and the fines increased for having these gatherings. The order issued on November 2nd stated that indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. In addition, with the new curfew, all gatherings must end by 9:30 p.m. and people must go home. To enforce these laws, the state has increased the fine for breaking these laws. Every person over the limit, either inside or outside, will be a fine of $500.
Jack Callahan, a senior at North Attleboro High School, commented on the new curfew and how it affects him. He said, “I think the curfew is pretty useless, the horus in the curfew are the hours when the least amount of people are out so it doesn’t really make sense to tell them to go home,” he continued, “Personally, I get off of work past 10p.m. many nights and I don’t think I should be forced to go immediately home.” The new curfew will not only hurt businesses like restaurants, but also the employees who work late hours.
The new restrictions went into effect on Friday, November 13th, at 12:01 a.m.. The goal of these new rules is to allow Massachusetts to move into reopening businesses and stopping the spread of coronavirus. The state has not been able to move to the next phase of reopening due to the high number of cases. Until the cases of Covid-19 go down, these restrictions will stay in place indefinitely.