Governor Charlie Baker announced today 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 August 1.
The Baker-Polito 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 cases and hospitalizations.
The Face Coverings Order for some outdoor settings will also be relaxed, effective April 30.
Since the State loosened capacity restrictions and advanced to Step 1 of Phase 4 of the reopening plan on March 22, case rates have dropped by 20%. The positivity rate has dropped to the lowest levels recorded since last summer.
Phase 4, Step 2 Industries and Gathering Changes
(All are subject to public health and vaccination data)
Effective Monday, May 10:
Large venues such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks currently open 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:
Gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors for event venues, public settings and private settings.
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.
Restaurant guidance will be updated to eliminate the requirement that food be served with alcohol and to increase the maximum table occupancy to 10.
Effective August 1:
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 1 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 30, 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.