SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — On Monday, Step 2 of Phase 3 of the Massachusetts reopening plan begins.
This day has been long awaited by many businesses in the Bay State as this change means they either can finally reopen their doors or open with less restrictions.
Last October, the Commonwealth had been in Step 2 of Phase 3 in the state’s four-phase reopening plan. However, in December, the state moved back to Step 1 of Phase 3 due to an increase in COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations following Thanksgiving.
Governor Charlie Baker made the announcement last week as COVID-19 cases continue to trend downward across the state.
STARTING MARCH 1
Starting on March 1, the state will move all cities and towns to Step 2 of Phase 3 in the reopening plan. That will allow indoor performance spaces – such as concert halls and theaters – to open at 50 percent capacity, with no more than 500 person maximum.
In addition, indoor recreation activities that have great chance of contact – such as laser tag, roller skating, and trampoline parks – will also open to 50 percent capacity.
On March 1, the following industries will be open to 50 percent capacity:
- Arcades & Other Indoor and Outdoor Recreation Businesses
- Close Contact Personal Services
- Driving and Flight Schools
- Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
- Golf Facilities (indoor)
- Operators of Lodging (common spaces)
- Museums, Cultural & Historic Facilities, Guided Tours
- Office Spaces
- Places of Worship
- Sectors not Otherwise Addressed
- Theaters and Performance Venues
- Relevant EEA Industries – Youth sports spectators etc.
Restaurants will no longer be subject to a percentage-based seating capacity and their capacity will only be limited by a six-foot spacing between tables. Musical performances will be allowed in restaurants, with proper distancing.
However, with regards to restaurants, food courts will remain closed, no more than six people will be allowed at a table, and there is a 90 minute table time limit.
Fitting rooms in retail businesses can also reopen
STARTING MARCH 22 (Subject to health data)
Gathering limits at event venues and public settings will be 100 people for indoor facilities and 150 people for outdoor facilities. Gathering limits in private settings, such as private residences and backyards, will remain at 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.
In addition, Massachusetts will move to Step 1 of Phase 4 in the reopening plan, subject to public health metrics.
With that move, indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, and ballparks will reopen with a 12 percent capacity limit. A large venue is defined by the state as having a capacity of 5,000 people or more, while venues under 5,000 capacity will be subject to the indoor and outdoor performance venue guidance.
Part of that step in the process also means that overnight camps will be able to reopen for the summer, and dance floors may open for weddings and events only. Also, exhibition and convention halls may reopen, subject to gathering limits and event rules.
However, other businesses in Phase 4 will not be able to open until a future reopening date. Those include:
- Road races, street festivals, and parades, and fairs
- Amusement parks, theme parks, outdoor water parks
- Indoor water parks and indoor/outdoor ball pits
- Saunas, hot-tubs, steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs, and other facilities
- Beer gardens/ breweries/ wineries/ distilleries
- Bars, dance clubs, and nightclubs – venues offering entertainment, beverages, or dancing and not providing seated food service
Western Mass News will continue to follow this story and will have more information as it becomes available.