State Announces Plans for Continued Economic Reopening
BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced that Massachusetts will reopen some outdoor phase 4, step 2 industries effective May 10 and put plans in place for further reopening on May 29 and Aug. 1, while relaxing the face-coverings order in some settings on April 30.
The administration continues to take steps to reopen the Commonwealth’s economy with public-health metrics continuing to trend in a positive direction. This includes drops in average daily COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Massachusetts remains first in the nation for first vaccine doses and total doses administered per capita, among states with more than 5 million people.
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 (DPH).
• 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 Saturday, 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 4, 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 Sunday, Aug. 1:
• Subject to public-health and vaccination data, remaining industries will be permitted to open, including dance clubs and nightclubs; saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs, and other facilities; indoor water parks; and 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 Aug. 1 date. The DPH will also continue to issue guidance as needed, including guidance to continue requiring masks indoors.
Also, on Friday, April 30, the face-coverings order will be relaxed for some outdoor settings. Face coverings will be required outside in public only 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.