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1.      Effective Monday, January 25th at 5:00am, the Stay at Home Advisory for the hours of 10pm – 5am is rescinded.

2.      Effective Monday, January 25th at 5:00am, the Mandatory Early Closure of Businesses Order requiring certain businesses to close by 9:30pm will be rescinded. On Monday, January 25th at 5:00am, the following businesses and activities listed below may operate past 9:30pm:

  • Restaurants
  • Arcades & Other Indoor & Outdoor Recreation (Phase 3, Step 1 businesses only)
  • Indoor and Outdoor Events
  • Movie Theaters and Outdoor Performance Venues
  •  Drive-In Movie Theaters
  • Youth and Adult Amateur Sports Activities
  • Golf Facilities
  • Recreational Boating and Boating Businesses (e.g. charter boats)
  • Outdoor Recreational Experiences
  • Casinos and Horse Tracks/Simulcast Facilities
  • Driving and Flight Schools
  • Zoos, Botanical Gardens, Wildlife Reserves, Nature Centers
  • Close Contact Personal Services (e.g. hair and nail salons)
  • Museums/Cultural & Historical Facilities/Guided Tours
  • Gyms/Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
  • Indoor and Outdoor Pools

·        Gatherings may go beyond 9:30pm

·        Liquor stores and other retail establishments that sell alcohol may sell alcohol past 9:30pm; adult use cannabis retailers may also sell cannabis after 9:30pm

·        Note – Phase 3, Step 2 businesses must remain fully closed

3.      The 25% temporary capacity and gathering limits remain in place until 5:00 AM on Monday February 8th.

The measures below go into effect at 12:01 a.m. December 26:

Beginning at 12:01 a.m. on December 26, 2020, Massachusetts will implement temporary capacity limits to stop the spread of COVID-19 as cases and hospitalizations rise. Businesses must adhere to the following capacity limitations. The revised limits below supersede existing limits in the Phase 3, Step 1 Sector-Specific Protocols. Except for the specified adjustments to capacity limitations, all other terms of COVID-19 gatherings order (including exceptions) and all sector-specific workplace safety rules remain unchanged. These limits are in effect until January 10, 2021 unless further extended by the Governor. These revised capacity limits do not apply to manufacturers, laboratories, drive-in movie theaters, or construction. 


Revised Capacity Limits


Gatherings (adjusting Order No. 57)

10 persons indoors

25 persons outdoors

applies to both private homes and event venues and public spaces


25% of seating capacity

(a) workers/staff excluded from occupancy count;

(b) applies separately to indoor and outdoor capacity

Close Contact Personal Services 


workers/staff excluded from occupancy count

Indoor and Outdoor Events

10 persons indoors

25 persons outdoors

workers/staff excluded from occupancy count

Theaters and Performance Venues

(Indoor performance venues remain closed)

Movie theaters – 25% and maximum 50 people

Outdoor performance venues – 25% and maximum 25 people




MGC to re-issue capacity rules as necessary

Office Spaces



Places of Worship


workers/staff excluded from occupancy count

Retail Businesses


workers/staff excluded from occupancy count

Driving and Flight Schools



Golf Facilities


applies only to indoor spaces




Operators of Lodgings


applies only to common areas

Arcades & Other Indoor & Outdoor Recreation Businesses



Fitness Centers and Health Clubs



Museums / Cultural & Historical Facilities / Guided Tours by vehicles and vessels



Sectors Not Otherwise Addressed



Common Areas in facilities subject to EEA-issued COVID-19 safety rules


applies only to indoor spaces and excludes youth and amateur sports facilities

General Provision: Where no licensed or permitted capacity allowance is on record and for any enclosed space within a larger facility, occupancy shall be limited to no more than 5 persons per 1,000 square feet.

The measures below go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, December 13:

1.      Statewide Rollback to Phase 3, Step 1: The entire Commonwealth will move to Phase 3, Step 1 of the Reopening Plan. In addition, the following updates to capacity limits will go into effect:

  • Outdoor gatherings at event venues and public spaces to 50 people
  • Outdoor Theaters and Performance Venues to 25% and no more than 50 people
  • Close Indoor Theaters and Performance Venues and a few smaller indoor recreation businesses like roller rinks and trampoline parks
  • Reduce capacity from 50% to 40% for several industry sectors noted below:
    • Arcades/Indoor and Outdoor Recreational Businesses
    • Driving and Flight Schools
    • Gyms/Health Clubs
    • Libraries
    • Museums
    • Retail
    • Offices
    • Places of Worship
    • Lodging (common areas)
    • Golf
    • Movie theaters (no more than 50 people per theater)

2.      Restaurants and Event Venues Protocols Updates: The following updates will be made to restaurant and event venue protocols with regard to face coverings, seating, and performances

  • Wear masks at all times except when eating and drinking
  • Seat no more than six per table and encourage customers to only dine with same household
  • Put a 90-minute time limit on tables
  • Prohibit all musical performances at restaurants
  • Close food court seating

3.      Workplaces and Fitness Centers Protocols Updates: The following updates will be made to the Office Spaces and Fitness Centers protocols with regard to face coverings

  • Require mask wearing in offices when not in your own workspace and alone
  • Require mask wearing at all times in gyms
  • Encourage teleworking

All updates to sector specific guidance can be found on later this week.

New Measures starting Friday November 6th:

How do Governor Baker's new targeted measures to curb COVID-19 impact me?                                    

Starting Friday November 6th the measures below are in effect.  They are meant to disrupt rising trends of COVID-19 now, so the Commonwealth can keep the economy and schools open for residents and to prevent the need to roll back to Phase I or Phase II of the reopening plan.  While some may be inconvenient, we appreciate your cooperation with these and other preventative measures to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Winchester:

  • Revised Stay At Home Advisory instructs residents to stay home between 10 PM and 5 AM. The Advisory allows for activities such as going to work, running critical errands to get groceries and address health needs, and taking a walk.
  • Early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30 PM.  Click here for a full list of businesses 
  • Revised face-coverings order requires all persons to wear face-coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. 
  • Indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues (e.g. wedding venues) remains the same. The new gatherings order also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing. More details can be found here

Starting August 1st Massachusetts has a mandatory 14-day quarantine for travelers arriving in the state.   Click here for detailed guidance

Travelers from COVID-19 lower risk States are not required to fill out the Massachusetts Travel Form and do not need to quarantine. States are included on the list based on meeting two criteria: average daily cases per 100K below 6 AND positive test rate below 5%, both measured as a 7-day rolling average. 

Note: Effective Friday, August 7, Rhode Island is no longer listed as a lower risk State 

Update August 7th:

Statewide Guidance:

 Governor Baker is signing an updated gatherings order, effective Tuesday, August 11,  which will:

  • Reduce the limit on outdoor gatherings from 100 to 50 people (indoor gatherings limit will remain at 25 people)
  • Apply these limits to all types of gatherings, on both public and private property
  • Require face coverings where more than 10 people from different households will be mixing.

Due to the recent increase in positive cases, step two of phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan has been postponed indefinitely.

Restaurant rules have been updated to state that alcoholic beverages may only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by orders for food prepared on-site. The administration will be taking measures to ensure that bars masquerading as restaurants will be closed.

Public safety officials, including state and local law enforcement, have the jurisdiction to enforce these orders and event hosts in violation of these orders will be subject to fines or cease and desist orders.

To read the gatherings order, click here.

 To read the updated restaurant protocols, click here.


Update July 2nd: The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that on July 6th, Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin and updates on gatherings will be in effect. For the City of Boston, Phase III and the gatherings order will take effect on Monday, July 13th.  Click here for full press release and go to the state’s website for additional details:

The Select Board voted additional parking for visitors going downtown.  Please click on this link for a map of additional parking options.

Governor’s Reopening Plan: Guidance for Reopening and Continuing Operations

As we move forward with the Governor’s plan to phase in the reopening of different establishments and businesses, the Winchester Health Department wants to direct you to the required documentation to help your business reopen or continue operating in a manner that will protect both staff and customers, and keep you in full compliance with the requirements set forth by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health. For Reopening Phases for business categories, please see the chart created by the State of Massachusetts that notes different business categories and reopening dates or phases.  All necessary state information can be found here but we have also broken the key elements down for you below:

Reopening: Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces

These new standards will apply universally to all workplaces as they reopen, and are designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers.

Sector-specific protocols and best practices

Mandatory safety standards and recommended best practices for sectors that are eligible to open. Additional sector guidance for future phases will be issued at a later date. All businesses as well as those Essential Businesses that have remained operating must comply with their industry’s sector-specific protocols (if applicable).

General business guidance and required documentation to open

Information to help businesses meet the self-certification requirement to reopen is linked below. All businesses must meet these requirements before reopening and essential businesses which have remained operating.

Businesses are not required to have a pre-opening inspection and are not required to file their COVID-19 control plans with the Town of Winchester. However, these must be available on-site and shown to the Winchester Health Department or Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards upon request.

Please note that the temporary shutdown or reduced operation of a building and reductions in normal water use can create hazards for returning occupants; these hazards can include mold and Legionella. After a prolonged shutdown, building owners and employers should ensure that their building does not have mold and that the water system is safe to use to minimize the risk of Legionnaires’ disease. Guidance on how to do this is available from the CDC