COVID-19 Daily News

Phase 3 of State’s Economic Reopening Begins July 6

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced that phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin on Monday, July 6, and updates on gatherings will be in effect. For the city of Boston, phase 3 and the gatherings order will take effect on Monday, July 13.

The following businesses will be eligible to reopen in the first stage of phase 3, subject to industry-specific rules concerning capacity and operations: movie theaters and outdoor performance venues; museums and cultural and historical sites; fitness centers and health clubs; certain indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact; and professional sports teams, which, under the authority of league-wide rules, may hold games without spectators.

The full guidance and list of businesses eligible to reopen can be found at www.mass.gov/reopening. Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in phase 3 are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards.

Under the updated gatherings order, indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space.

Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces are limited to 25% of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy, with a maximum of 100 people in a single enclosed outdoor space. This includes community events, civic events, sporting events, concerts, conventions, and more. This order does not apply to outdoor, unenclosed gatherings if proper social-distancing measures are possible.

In phase 3, healthcare providers may continue to provide in-person procedures and services as allowed in phase 2, with the addition of certain group treatment programs and day programs. These programs include adult day health, day habilitation programs, and substance-abuse services, including day treatment and outpatient services. Certain human-services programs can reopen, including community-based day services for adults with intellectual and cognitive disabilities and psychosocial rehabilitation clubhouses.

Healthcare providers are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards, and must continue to utilize prioritization policies established in phase 2 for care delivery and scheduling, as well as monitor patient volume for non-essential, elective procedures and services.

In phase 3, visitation guidelines have been updated for 24/7 congregate care facilities and programs overseen by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, including the departments of Developmental Services, Youth Services, Children and Families, Public Health, Mental Health, and the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission. Offsite visits, including overnight visits, will be allowed under specific guidelines. Other updated guidelines, including visitation for long-term-care facilities, will be released shortly. Complete visitation guidance is available at www.mass.gov/hhs/reopening

MassHealth will also extend its current telehealth flexibility through at least the end of the year to ensure member access to critical healthcare services and encourage continued adherence to preventive public-health precautions.

On May 18, the Baker-Polito administration released a four-phase plan to reopen the economy based on public-health data, spending at least three weeks in each phase. Key public-health data, such as new cases and hospitalizations, have been closely monitored and shown a decline, allowing for phase 3 to begin.

Since mid-April, the seven-day average for the positive COVID-19 test rate is down 94%, the three-day average of hospitalized patients is down 79%, and the number of hospitals in surge is down 86%. More than 1,000,000 total COVID-19 tests have been administered, and testing continues throughout the state.

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