Business restrictions easing due to positive virus trends

Coronavirus Local Impact

BOSTON (WWLP) – Starting next week, businesses in Massachusetts will be able to welcome more customers and patrons into their establishments.

Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday announced he’s easing some of the restrictions that have been in place for over a month. The state has seen positive trends with our COVID data since the start of 2021. To help the state’s economy, the governor is rolling back regulations on thousands of businesses.

Starting Monday, February 8, businesses like restaurants and gyms can bump up their capacity from 25 percent to 40 percent. The governor said he decided to make the change because our positive test rate is down to 3.3% and our hospitalization rate continues to decline each week.

“We’re making progress in out battle against COVID and everyone’s hard work and preparation is now making it possible for us to continue to step back to what we might call a new normal,” said Gov. Baker.

The governor reminded residents that we aren’t in the clear yet, so he’s keeping the limit on indoor gatherings at 10 people and the limit on outdoor gatherings at 25 people.

Gov. Baker said he’s also keeping the travel advisory in place for residents returning home and those who plan to visit the Commonwealth.

He said he’ll need to see more positive trends in the data before amending that.

SECTOR-SPECIFIC CAPACITY RESTRICTIONS:

  • Arcades and Recreational Businesses
  • Driving and Flight Schools
  • Gyms/Health Clubs
  • Libraries
  • Museums
  • Retail
  • Offices
  • Places of Worship
  • Lodging (common areas)
  • Golf (indoor areas)
  • Movie Theaters (no more than 50 people per theater)

In addition, restaurants and close contact personal services will now be allowed to operate at a 40 percent capacity limit, which reflects an increase from the 25 percent limit imposed in December. As under the current 25 percent limit, workers and staff will not count towards the occupancy count for restaurants and close contact personal services.

The Commonwealth remains in Phase 3, Step 1 of the Baker-Polito Administration’s reopening plan.

Phase 3, Step 2 businesses, including indoor performance venues and indoor recreation businesses like roller rinks and trampoline parks, remain closed.  

GATHERING LIMITS

The current gathering limits, in place since December 26, are being extended. Indoor gatherings and events will remain limited to 10 people. Outdoor gatherings and events will remain limited to 25 people. The gathering limits apply equally to private homes, event venues, and other public spaces.

Click here to read the read the updated gatherings order.

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