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Somerville to enter Phase 3, Step 1, after Labor Day

Fitness centers, martial arts facilities, and dance studios in Somerville will be allowed to reopen with restrictions after Labor Day, as the city enters the first step of Phase 3 of its reopening process, the mayor announced Thursday.

But businesses must first meet strict COVID-19 safety requirements and have health and safety plans approved by the city, according to a statement from the office of Mayor Joe Curtatone.

Facilities allowed to reopen Sept. 8 include health clubs, gyms, yoga studios, movie and television streaming productions, and classes in non-athletic pursuits such as music, the arts, and languages.

Museums, movie theaters, and interactive attractions such as the LegoLand Discovery Center cannot reopen until further notice, the city said.


“City staff will continue to work with specialty indoor recreational facilities with more unique safety challenges such as ax throwing or indoor rock climbing to consider potential openings on individual timelines. But at this time they will remain closed,” officials said.

Curtatone pushed back Phase 3 twice in July, after most of the state had moved into the stage. He cited a range of concerns in mid-July, when he said Phase 3 would start no sooner than Aug. 3, including a slight rise in the seven-day average of new cases in some parts of Massachusetts, as well as the downsizing of the state’s contact tracing efforts.

In July, the city moved into Phase 3 for only health and human services providers and grocery store capacity.

When businesses reopen Tuesday, patrons will have to sign up in advance for specific time slots and businesses will be required to meet air quality recommendations from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers.

In keeping with Somerville’s ban on gatherings of more than 10, reopening businesses other than fitness facilities will be limited to 10 people on the premises at any time, including staff.


Somerville also will require face coverings at all times for all employees and patrons, except those with medical exemptions and children under age 2, in addition to state-mandated safety requirements. “State exceptions, for example, for persons at a greater distance or engaged in vigorous exercise, will not be permitted,” the city said.

Jeremy C. Fox can be reached at jeremy.fox@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeremycfox.