BOSTON (WWLP) – On Tuesday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Massachusetts will reopen some outdoor Phase 4, Step 2 industries effective May 10th and have placed plans for further reopening on May 29th and August 1st. The Administration will also relax the face coverings order for some outdoor settings, effective April 30th.
Effective Monday, May 10:
Large venues such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks currently open as part of Phase 4, Step 1 at 12% will be permitted to increase capacity to 25%.
The Commonwealth will reopen some outdoor Phase 4, Step 2 industries including amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks that will be permitted to operate at a 50% capacity after submitting safety plans to the Department of Public Health.
Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events will be permitted to take place with staggered starts after submitting safety plans to a local board of health or the DPH.
Youth and adult amateur sports tournaments will be allowed for moderate and high risk sports.
Singing will also be permitted indoors with strict distancing requirements at performance venues, restaurants, event venues and other businesses.
Effective May 29:
Subject to public health and vaccination data, gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors for event venues, public settings and private settings.
Subject to public health and vaccination data, additional Phase IV, Step 2 industries will be permitted to open including:
- Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals, at 50% of their previous capacity and after submitting safety plans to the local board of health.
- Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries, will be subject to restaurant rules with seated service only, a 90 minute limit and no dance floors.
Subject to public health and vaccination data, the restaurant guidance will be updated to eliminate the requirement that food be served with alcohol and to increase the maximum table size to 10.
Effective August 1:
Subject to public health and vaccination data, remaining industries will be permitted to open including:
- Dance clubs, and nightclubs
- Saunas, hot-tubs, steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs and other facilities
- Indoor water parks
- Ball pits
All industry restrictions will be lifted at that time, and capacity will increase to 100% for all industries, with businesses encouraged to continue following best practices. The gathering limit will be rescinded.
Depending on vaccine distribution and public health data, the Administration may consider re-evaluating the August 1st date.
The Department of Public Health will also continue to issue guidance as needed, including guidance to still require masks indoors.
Face Coverings Order:
Effective April 30th, the Face Coverings Order will be relaxed for some outdoor settings.
Face coverings will only be required outside in public when it is not possible to socially distance, and at other times required by sector-specific guidance.
Face coverings will still be required at all times in indoor public places. Face coverings will also continue to be required at all times at events, whether held indoors or outdoors and whether held in a public space or private home, except for when eating or drinking.
At smaller gatherings in private homes, face coverings are recommended but not required. The $300 fine as an enforcement mechanism will be eliminated.
Effective Monday, March 22, all communities in Massachusetts moved into Step 1 of Phase 4 of the state’s reopening plan. This opened a range of previously closed business sectors under tight capacity restrictions that were 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 large capacity sports and entertainment venues were permitted to operate at a strict 12% capacity limit after submitting a plan to the Department of Public Health (DPH):
- Indoor and outdoor stadiums
Also effective on March 22, gathering limits for event venues and in public settings increased to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards remain at a maximum of 25 people, with indoor house gatherings remaining at 10 people.
Additionally, dance floors are permitted at weddings and other events only, and overnight summer camps are allowed to operate this coming summer. Exhibition and convention halls also began to operate, following gatherings limits and event protocols. Other Phase IV sectors must continue to remain closed.
Effective Monday, March 22, the Massachusetts Travel Order was be replaced with a Travel Advisory.
The new travel advisory urges all persons entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival if they have been out of the state for 24 hours or more.
The advisory does not apply to anyone in the following categories:
- Anyone who is returning to Massachusetts after an absence of fewer than 24 hours.
- Travelers who have a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts.
- Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as specified by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) while they are commuting to or from or while at work.
- Travelers who are fully vaccinated (i.e. who have received two doses of either the Moderna or Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines OR who have received a single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, 14 days or more ago and who do not have symptoms).
Travelers are additionally encouraged to consult and follow the CDC’s guidelines and requirements for travel.