During a State House press conference on Aug. 7, Gov. Charlie Baker announces a new set of initiatives aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, especially in higher risk communities that have seen a recent uptick in cases. (Photo courtesy Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office)

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito today announced a series of updates and refinements to the state’s COVID-19 orders in response to recent increases in the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The new COVID-19 restrictions include the following:

• Step 2 of Phase 3 of the reopening process has been postponed indefinitely.

• The state is creating an interagency enforcement and intervention team, which will be targeted to work in communities with a high spread of the virus.

• A special focus will be given to closing bars that are masquerading as restaurants. The rules for restaurants now require that customers order food with their first order of alcohol, and the food must be prepared on site by the restaurant.

The governor has issued a revised gatherings order, effective on Tuesday, Aug. 11, reducing the maximum outdoor gathering size from 100 to 50 people on both public and private property.

• The penalty for violating the outdoor gathering limit will increase to $500. In addition to state and local public health authorities, all state and local police officers are empowered to enforce the order and issue fines.

• The outdoor gathering limit applies to organized or permitted events at parks and public lands.

• Face coverings will be required for gatherings of more than 10 people, even if social distancing is maintained.

Link to the governor’s press release for more information