Massachusetts will move a step backward in its reopening plan, Gov. Baker announced Tuesday, a move that will lower the maximum size for outdoor gatherings and close some indoor recreational businesses and performance venues.

"The rate Massachusetts residents are getting infected and the rate at which they are needing medical care, if all continues to move at this pace, is simply not sustainable over time, and our health care system will be put at risk," Baker said.

Baker said capacity limits will also be reduced to 40 percent for "pretty much everything else," including gyms, libraries, museums, retail stores, houses of worship and movie theaters.

The changes will take effect Sunday.

There will also be "strengthened" guidance on mask-wearing, and the maximum party size for restaurants will be lowered from 10 to six, with a time limit of 90 minutes, Baker said.

The steps follow an announcement Monday that hospitals will curb elective procedures starting Friday. Baker said the new infections and hospitalizations recorded since Thanksgiving reflect "disturbing trends."

While the vaccines that are scheduled to begin arriving in Massachusetts this month offer hope, he said, "we cannot simply wait for the vaccine to get here."

— Katie Lannan/SHNS

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