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State to Move to Phase 4, Step 1 Re-Opening

Posted on March 18, 2021

Ballparks, arenas and indoor and outdoor stadiums will be able to open with a 12.5 percent capacity limit when Massachusetts moves to Phase 4, Step 1 of its economic re-opening plan next Monday, Governor Charlie Baker announced today.

The state will also modify its previous travel testing order to an advisory and increase the gatherings limit for event venues and public settings to 100 people indoors and 150 outdoors.

The announcement was the second in two days by the Baker Administration as the commonwealth pushes to move its economy toward recovery. The governor said Wednesday that Everyone in Massachusetts will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine by mid-April.

The move to Phase 4 is based on significant progress in moderating the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.

Visit the AIM Re-Opening Web Page

Since the state moved to Step 2 of Phase III on March 1, hospitalizations have dropped by 20 percent and deaths declined by 24 percent. The seven-day average of new cases in long-term care facilities dropped by 53 percent and the positive test rate remains below 2 percent.

The seven-day average of new cases overall is also down by 7 percent.

“The Baker administration said it would follow the science in re-opening the economy and the science now indicates that Massachusetts can safely move to the first step of Phase 4. These businesses look forward to welcoming back customers and re-hiring some of the thousands of workers who lost their jobs during the pandemic,” said Brooke Thomson, Executive Vice President of Associated Industries of Massachusetts.

Thomson noted that large venues must submit a safety plan to the Department of Public Safety before opening.

Here is a summary of the changes due next Monday:

Gatherings Limit

Effective March 22, subject to public health data, the gatherings limit will increase for event venues and public settings, but will stay the same in private settings:

  • Event Venues and Public Settings: 100 indoor, 150 outdoor
  • Private Settings (such as private residences): 10 indoors, 25 outdoors

Phase 4, Step 1

Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks will reopen with a 12.5% capacity limit

  • A large venue is defined as a having a capacity of 5,000 or more
  • Venues with capacity under 5,000 are subject to the Indoor and Outdoor Performance Venue guidance
  • Large venues will be required to submit a safety plan to the Department of Public Health

Overnight Camps will be allowed to open for Summer 2021

Exhibition and Convention Halls may reopen, subject to gathering limits and event rules

Dance floors may open at weddings and events only

All other Phase 4 industries will not be able to open until a future reopening step. 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