BOSTON (CBS) — As coronavirus cases continue to decline in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday announced he will be easing restrictions on restaurants, weddings and other businesses and venues. The state will move into Phase 3, Step 2 on March 1, and plans to enter Phase 4, Step 1 on March 22.
Starting Monday, restaurants will no longer face a percentage capacity limit, but will still have to keep six feet of space between tables, limit party size to six and maintain the 90-minute time limit on dining. Other businesses including gyms, offices spaces and close contact personal services will be able to expand capacity to 50%.READ MORE: Five New Hotels In Massachusetts Make Travel + Leisure's 'It List'
Indoor performance venues like concert halls and theaters will also be allowed to open at 50% capacity, up to 500 people.
When Phase 4, Step 1 begins on March 22, wedding capacity will be increased to 100 people inside and 150 outside. Dance floors will also be allowed at wedding receptions.
Additionally, stadiums and arenas like Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park, and TD Garden will be able to reopen with a 12% capacity limit in Phase 4.
#COVID19MA public health metrics are moving in the right direction with continued drops in average daily cases and hospitalizations.
As a result, we are taking steps to reopen our economy:
⏩ Phase III, Step 2 begins Monday March 1READ MORE: It's Time To 'Move On' From Outdoor Mask Mandates, Infectious Disease Doctor Says
⏩ Phase IV, Step 1 begins Monday, March 22 pic.twitter.com/SojuJNVMsO
— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) February 25, 2021
“These large venues employ a lot of people and many of them have been out of work for a very long time,” Baker said during his news conference at Ledger Restaurant And Bar in Salem. “We’ve been watching how these venues perform in other states, and believe with the right safety measures in place they can operate responsibly and safely here in the Commonwealth as well.”
Despite the relaxed rules for businesses and public venues, gatherings at private homes and backyards will still be capped at 25 people outdoors and 10 indoors.
More details from the governor’s office about the next phase can be found below.
Phase 3, Step 2 (March 1)
- Indoor performance venues such as concert halls, theaters, and other indoor performance spaces will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity with no more than 500 persons
- Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact (laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, obstacle courses) will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity
- Capacity limits across all sectors with capacity limits will be raised to 50% and exclude employees
- Restaurants will no longer have a percent capacity limit and will be permitted to host musical performances; six-foot social distancing, limits of six people per table and 90 minute limits remain in place