BOSTON, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Massachusetts Governor Baker has announced a new set of initiatives due to a 'slight uptick' in Coronavirus cases in the Bay State. 

"We are indefinitely postponing Step 2 of Phase III," he said during his coronavirus update from the State House Friday afternoon.

Gov. Baker also announced that the state is reducing outdoor gatherings by 50%; from 100 to 50. 

He cited the  uptick of coronavirus cases in the state due to multiple parties that have been held 'in people's homes and their backyards' saying they have continued to contribute to clusters of COVD-19.

Issues with residents not wearing masks, was cited as well by the governor, despite state measures in place.

He said this puts residents 'at risk' saying in part, "If you give this virus the opportunity to move it will."

As part of the state reducing the size of outdoor gatherings, Gov. Baker says residents must maintain face coverings and 6 foot social distancing at outdoor parties.

In regards to restaurants, Gov. Baker says that alcoholic beverages may only be served on-site with on-site served food.

He noted that all state and local law enforcement have now been authorized to enforce violation penalties.

"We've seen an uptick in a number of communities across the Commonwealth," said Gov. Baker.

Baker also announced the formation of a new 'COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team' whose mission will be to 'ramp up enforcement in key communities and prevention efforts.'

Gov. Baker explaining these are higher risk communities with a certain percentage of positive COVID-19 tests and state will be looking at public health data as well.

As part of the statewide enforcement, the governor says multiple state agencies will be coordinating 'our efforts' including the MA State Police and the Alcohol Control Commission.

State officials say if circumstances warrant, the state will help communities obtain Federal financial assistance and work on any areas contributing to outbreaks.

"People should rethink any party when they know there's a flareup in their community," noted Gov. Baker, "..This is a new phase of COVID in our communities."

He also stressed the importance of wearing face coverings. 

"We have to put together a plan to stop. This fight against COVID-19 is far from over, and all of us need to work together to defeat it as previously." 

This is a developing story. Western Mass News is continuing to follow the latest announcements from the state. Watch ABC40 at 5PM for the latest details.

Copyright 2020 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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