GOV. CHARLIE BAKER eased some restrictions on dining out Wednesday as COVID-19 cases on a per capita basis statewide continued to rise and the number of communities at high or moderate risk rose sharply.
The number of cases per 100,000 people statewide over the previous two weeks continued to inch up, rising from 4.6 a week ago to 4.9 on Wednesday. The 4.9 number is toward the lower end of the moderate risk category, which is defined as between 4 and 8 cases per 100,000 people. The Baker administration defines high-risk as more than 8 cases per 100,000 people.
Nantucket remained in the high-risk category for the second week in a row, having the highest number of cases per 100,000 people over the last two weeks. Nantucket had 26.5 cases per 100,000, higher than Chelsea at 22.4, Lawrence at 22.1, and Revere at 18.1.
A total of 15 communities were in the high-risk category, two down from a week ago. Dedham, Lynnfield, Monson, and Plainville dropped out, while Marlborough and Holliston moved in.
Framingham, Wrentham, Everett, and Lynn were bunched in the 11 to 12 range, while Marlborough, Holliston, Worcester, Winthrop, Tyngsboro, Saugus, and New Bedford were bunched between 8.3 and 9.5.
The number of communities in the moderate risk category jumped from 36 last week to 63 on Wednesday. Boston continued its slow rise toward the high-risk group, hitting 7.9 on Wednesday. Lowell and Methuen were also at 7.9. Other communities above 7 cases per 100,000 included Attleboro and Fall River, both at 7.6, and Hingham at 7.5.
Gov. Charlie Baker said he plans to ease two restrictions on dining out on Monday, allowing restaurants to seat patrons in groups maxing out at 10 instead of six and allowing patrons to eat at restaurant bars as long as they are eating and socially distanced. Bars serving alcohol only remain closed.
“No standing around the bar, OK?” Baker said at a press conference at Mill City BBQ and Brew in Lowell.