In New Bedford, Mayor Jon Mitchell has paused indoor bar seating during the long holiday. He says bars are the only public, indoor gathering area where people are in close proximity to one another without masks.

"A lot of people come back home and reunite with friends at bars especially the night before Thanksgiving but also in other days during the same weekend," Mitchell said in a video posted on Facebook. "And it’s always a lot of fun but it’s just a little too risky this year."

In Fall River, Mayor Paul Coogan is telling residents to stay home as the city’s infection numbers continue to rise, citing a case where 17 members of a family who had a birthday party all tested positive with the coronavirus.

"People want to get together. Their natural inclination is to hang out with your friends or have family over," Coogan told residents in a video posted on Facebook. "We’re going to need your help to get through these holidays until we eventually get a vaccine or an end to this."

Collectively, New Bedford and Fall River have done over 20,000 COVID tests in the last two weeks.

New Bedford has a 7.3-percent positivity rate, with Fall River slightly higher at 10.8-percent.


Nadine Sebai is the South Coast Bureau reporter for The Public's Radio. She can be reached at or (508) 441-4636.