SOMERVILLE (CBS) – Somerville is putting Phase 3 of reopening on hold, the city announced Friday.

“We are watching as the virus rages and businesses are shut back down in states that ignored clear warnings that they were opening too quickly. We are also watching state and local data head in the wrong direction. At the same time, testing and contact tracing concerns and challenges continue to rise. This is a dangerous mix,” said Mayor Joe Curtatone. “Pressing pause on this next phase is painful, but necessary as we strive to protect our residents and give ourselves a fighting chance of getting our kids back into schools.”

That means the 10-person gatherings limit remains in effect. However, the city is encouraging gyms and fitness centers to hold outdoor classes with as many as 25 people once the gym has a safety plan approved by the city. Businesses can operate outside on private property public open space with approval from the Somerville Parks and Recreation Department.

“So the questions we continually ask include do we have enough testing capacity and is it reliable, do we have effective contact tracing in place, are people regionally and statewide complying with safety guidelines, is there sufficient access to supplies and PPE, what are medical and scientific experts advising, what is happening in states on earlier timelines like California which flattened the curve early but is now seeing a significant surge prompting authorities to revert back to shutdowns? We also look at the risk factors for specific activities like gyms and theaters. All of this combined points toward caution now on Phase 3,” Curtatone said.

Phase 3 Health and Human Services categories opened in Somerville according to statewide plans on July 6. Phase 3 grocery store capacity limit increases also went into effect in tandem with the State on July 17. Officials said they will review the decision in two weeks.

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