Associated Press — Gov. Charlie Baker on Tuesday defended his new measures aimed at stemming the rising number of new COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts, which include earlier closing times for restaurants and some other businesses.

The alternative, he said, is an overwhelmed health care system.

“We have a 300 percent increase in daily positive case rate since Labor Day, a 150 percent increase in daily hospital COVID census since Labor Day, and a lot of concern in our health-care and hospital community about what this trend will mean if it keeps running for another eight to 10 weeks,” the Republican governor said.

He understands that the regulations are “disruptive” to the restaurant industry but added that it’s better to take targeted measures now rather than suffer the consequences in several weeks.

The new rules also give local governments more tools to end informal gatherings of more than 10 people, he said.

“It gives them for the first time a vehicle that they can use to just tell people that it’s time to go home,” he said.

He also reiterated the importance of wearing face coverings.

“If people would just wear these things religiously for 30 days, we could kill the virus,” Baker said as he held up his own mask.

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