Massachusetts businesses to operate at 40% capacity as COVID cases trend downward


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BOSTON/SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – COVID-19 case numbers continue to trend in the right direction so the governor is lifting the restrictions for businesses. 

After the spike in cases over the holidays, the state’s COVID data started to trend in the right direction, which prompted Governor Charlie Baker to open up more of the state’s economy. 

Starting Monday, businesses will be able to operate at 40 percent capacity.

After Christmas, the seven-day average positive test rate was almost 6 percent and nearly 2,000 were hospitalized for the virus. This week, our positive test rate sits at 3.3 percent and roughly 1,500 people remain hospitalized. 

“Since the start of 2021, the Commonwealth has seen positive trends emerge as hospitalizations have decreased and the percent of positive cases has declined at a steady rate,” Baker said. 

Baker reminded residents that we aren’t in the clear just yet.  

It will take several months for widespread vaccine distribution so gathering limits and the travel advisory will stay in effect. 

Baker did say that he’s been in contact with other New England governors about amending the travel advisory. He added that if anything does get done on that front, it will be done on a regional basis. 

Gyms have struggled to stay afloat throughout the months-long shutdown. Then after opening, these facilities were only allowed to operate at 23 percent capacity on top of physically distancing, equipment, and purchasing PPE like plexiglass.  

Healthtrax in West Springfield is one of those gyms. Luckily, they have a large facility so it’s easy to spread out but, their popular group classes have really suffered. With the 25 percent limit, only eight people can be in a class at once, as opposed to the original 22 to 25. 

“I think that’s been the hardest thing is not having the capacity to have as many people in classes because people love them so much,” Danielle Spiro, a fitness director at Healthtrax told 22News. 

The capacity increase also includes restaurants, retail stores, and hair and nail salons.  

However, we’ll remain in Phase 3, Step 1 of the state’s reopening plan. So, indoor performance venues and businesses like roller rinks and trampoline parks, remain closed.   

Indoor gatherings and events will remain capped at 10 people, and outdoor gatherings remain at 25 people. Those gatherings apply to homes, venues, and other public spaces. 

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