With Covid-19 case numbers remaining steadily low throughout the commonwealth, Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Wednesday that restaurants could now seat up to 10 people at a table and could use bar spaces for seating.

State coronavirus guidelines originally limited seating at restaurants to six people per table and blocked all bar seating.

Bars and nightclubs remain closed throughout the state, and all alcohol service at restaurants must be accompanied by a prepared food order.

But key coronavirus metrics have stayed well below the national average throughout the state, including the seven-day positive test rate of 0.8 per cent, prompting the governor to alter the guidelines on Wednesday.

“These statewide metrics indicate that Massachusetts continues to make progress with respect to Covid,” Governor Baker said. “As more industries have opened up, we’ve seen a decline in the positive test rate . . . unlike many other states.”

The seating limit increase and space rules change was made during a press briefing at Mill City BBQ in Lowell, with owners cheering loudly when the governor made the announcement.

The changes apply to both indoor and outdoor dining and events. While “standing around the bar” is still not allowed, the governor said he hoped the changes would help businesses as colder weather looms in the near future and outdoor dining becomes less desirable.

“We want restaurants to use their spaces more effectively,” Governor Baker said Wednesday. “Bars are closed, nightclubs are closed, but the evidence from other states is clear. Restaurants can use bar spaces for seating.”

He added:

“We hope these updates will also help main street shops and restaurants.”