Baker stuffs war chest with eye to 2022  

Gov. Charlie Baker speaks during a press conference in October about Halloween in Salem. Baker, on Thursday, announced he was rolling back a nightly curfew on many businesses as well as the state's stay-at-home advisory, citing the stabilization of COVID-19 hospitalizations in Massachusetts since Jan. 1.

[Coverage Developing] Citing a stabilization of COVID-19 hospitalizations since the start of the year, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday that he will lift the 9:30 p.m. curfew that many businesses now operate under effective Monday.

"These have been long and hard days for everybody, but our hospital system was able to continue to provide medical care for residents. And today, three weeks into 2021, our public health data is trending in a better direction for some categories like hospitalizations and the percent of positive COVID cases for the first time in a long time," Baker said. He added, "Vaccines are reaching residents, positive case rates and hospitalizations have stabilized; those trends are moving in the right direction. As a result, we believe it's OK and it's time to start a gradual easing of some of the restrictions we put in place in the fall."

While restaurants, health clubs, casinos, movie theaters, and other businesses will be able to stay open later than 9:30 p.m. next week, they will still not be allowed to put fill their places of business to greater than 25% capacity. Baker announced that restriction will remain in place for at least another two weeks more.

The governor will also lift the state's stay at home advisory effective Monday at 5 a.m., he said.

"While today's announcement reflects another step toward normalcy, we still have a lot of work ahead of us to suppress the pandemic once and for all and to fully reopen our economy," Baker said.

~ Colin A. Young/SHNS

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