Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday announced he was rolling back Massachusetts’ reopening plan and implementing additional restrictions, citing a surge in COVID-19 hospitalizations and cases.
“We are still in a pandemic and the state of Massachusetts is being tested once again,” Baker said, noting the increase in cases after Thanksgiving. “We cannot simply wait for the vaccine to get here.”
All communities in the state will move back to Phase 3, Step 1 beginning Sunday, he said. In addition, Baker announced a series of new measures on restaurants and other venues.
Here’s what it all means:
- Gathering limits at outdoor event venues and spaces will be reduced from 100 people to 50.
- Arcades, indoor and outdoor recreational businesses, driving and flight schools, gyms and health clubs, libraries, museums, retail and office spaces, places of worship, and golf facilities will be reduced to 40 percent capacity from 50 percent capacity.
- Outdoor theaters and performance venues will be limited to 25 percent capacity, with no more than 50 people.
- People hosting more than 25 people outdoors will be required to notify their local board of health ahead of time.
- Indoor theaters, performance venues, and higher contact indoor recreation businesses, which includes trampolines, laser tag, obstacle courses, roller skating, and laser tag, will be required to close.
In addition to rolling back to Phase 3, Step 1, the Baker administration announced additional restrictions:
New restaurant guidance
- People dining at restaurants will have to keep their masks on at all times when they are not actively eating or drinking.
- The number of people allowed at a table will be reduced from 10 people to 6.
- Restaurants must impose a 90-minute time limit on tables.
- Musical performances at restaurants are not allowed.
- People are encouraged to dine only with people in their own household.
- Food court seating will be closed in malls.
Gyms and offices
- People will need to wear masks at gyms at all times, even while exercising.
- Employees must wear face masks at their place of work except when they are in their individual workspaces or alone.
- Employers are encouraged to close or limit the use of break rooms.