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High risk for three weeks, 13 communities in Massachusetts are back to Phase 3, step 1

Drive-through COVID-19 testing in Brockton.
Drive-through COVID-19 testing in Brockton.Barry Chin/Globe Staff

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the phase that the communities will roll back to. They will roll back to Phase 3, Step 1.

Thirteen communities in Massachusetts will roll back to Phase 3, Step 1 of the state’s reopening plan Monday after being designated high-risk for COVID-19 for three straight weeks.

For many businesses in those cities and towns, that means scaling back — or worse, closing their doors altogether.

On Thursday, the state reported 986 new coronavirus cases, the highest count in nearly five months. The state also released its weekly town-by-town data, which identified 77 cities and towns as high-risk, including Boston. Among those 77 are the 13 that have been listed in the red, or high-risk category, for three consecutive weeks.

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The towns reverting back to Phase 3, Step 1 are Acushnet, Brockton, Chelmsford, Holyoke, Hudson, Kingston, Leicester, Malden, Plymouth, Randolph, Waltham, Webster, and Woburn.

Capacity will be cut back from 50 percent to 40 percent in arcades, driving and flight schools, gyms, libraries, and museums.

Indoor theaters and performance venues, as well as roller skating rinks, trampoline parks, obstacle courses, laser tag and escape rooms must close.

Some businesses now closing had only reopened a few weeks ago when the state moved into Phase III, Step 2, on Oct. 5.

That’s the case at Roller Kingdom in Hudson, which reopened Oct. 5 for the first time since the governor declared a state of emergency in March in response to the pandemic.

“We’ve been so careful, taking every precaution, and now we’re told we have close again," said Lisa Hores, an assistant manager at Roller Kingdom.

Guests at the roller rink have their temperatures checked before coming in, Hores said. Everyone wears a mask, she said, and staff are frequently disinfecting surfaces around the facility. If any kids, or grown-ups, forget their masks, Hores said they keep fresh extras on hand to give out.

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Capacity has been limited at the roller rink since it reopened, but Hores said business has been steady with kids looking for something fun to do.

“We love being here for the kids,” said Hores, who has four children, two in the Hudson school system. “If you don’t give them a safe place to go, where they’ll be monitored and reminded of safety, they’ll just get together on their own. They’re not going to stay home.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the phase that the communities will roll back to. They will roll back to Phase 3, Step 1.


Nick Stoico can be reached at nick.stoico@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @NickStoico.