Massachusetts transitions to next reopening phase Monday

Coronavirus Local Impact

Massachusetts will advance to Step 2 of Phase III on March 1; Phase IV planned to start March 22

SALEM, Mass. (WWLP) – Most Massachusetts businesses will be able to open up to 50 percent capacity starting on Monday, March 1, but that’s not all.

The governor also gave certain performance and recreation venues the green light to open back up. Including, concert halls, theaters, roller skating rinks, and trampoline parks, to name a few.

On top of that, Gov. Baker is doing away with the capacity limits at restaurants, though, certain safety measures will stay in place like mask-wearing, social distancing, the 90-minute time limit, and the limit on parties to six people.

“Massachusetts will then move to step one of phase four of our re-opening plan, effective March 22, as long as the public health data continues to get better,” Baker said.

On March 22, Baker hopes to welcome fans back into stadiums, arenas, and ballparks. Those venues will be allowed to operate at 12 percent capacity to start.

If the data is trending in the right direction, Baker plan to increase the number of people allowed at public indoor gatherings to 100 people and public outdoor gatherings to 150 people.

The limit on private gatherings will stay the same.

Massachusetts Phase III, Step 2:

Since the beginning of this year, key public health data, such as new cases and hospitalizations, have been closely monitored and a significant decline has been documented, allowing for a return to Step 2 of Phase III, effective March 1 for all cities and towns. This includes the following updates to businesses, activities, and capacities:

  • Indoor performance venues such as concert halls, theaters, and other indoor performance spaces will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity with no more than 500 persons
  • Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact (laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, obstacle courses) will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity
  • Capacity limits across all sectors with capacity limits will be raised to 50% and exclude employees
  • Restaurants will no longer have a percent capacity limit and will be permitted to host musical performances; six-foot social distancing, limits of six people per table and 90 minute limits remain in place

Residents must continue to wear masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19, and are encouraged to avoid contact outside of their immediate households. The Travel Advisory and other public health orders remain in effect.

Gathering Changes and Phase IV Start

Provided public health metrics continue to improve, effective on March 22, all communities in Massachusetts will move into Step 1 of Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan. This will open a range of previously closed business sectors under tight capacity restrictions that are expected to be adjusted over time if favorable trends in the public health data continue. Effective on the planned advancement to Step 1 of Phase IV, the following industries will be permitted to operate at a strict 12% capacity limit after submitting a plan to the Department of Public Health (DPH):

  • Indoor and outdoor stadiums
  • Arenas
  • Ballparks

Also effective on March 22, gathering limits for event venues and in public settings will increase to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 25 people, with indoor house gatherings remaining at 10 people.

Additionally, dance floors will be permitted at weddings and other events only, and overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate this coming summer. Exhibition and convention halls may also begin to operate, following gatherings limits and event protocols. Other Phase IV sectors must continue to remain closed.

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