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These cities and towns in Massachusetts are rolling back their reopenings

Somerville's Davis Square.Jessica Rinaldi

Amid rising COVID-19 numbers in Massachusetts, a number of cities and towns in the state announced they are reverting to more restrictive phases of the state’s reopening plan.

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh and officials in Arlington, Brockton, Lynn, and Somerville, and Newton said on Monday their communities are moving from Phase 3, Step 1, to a modified Phase 2, Step 2 for at least three weeks.

Governor Charlie Baker announced last week that the state would move to Phase 3, Step 1 of its reopening plan, in addition to other measures, to curb the spread of the virus in the state. Those restrictions went into effect on Sunday.


On Tuesday, Baker said communities in the state have had the ability to set their own reopening timelines throughout the pandemic, adding that he is “okay with people making decisions based on what they think makes the most sense for them.”

“I want to give locals the ability, if they believe they need to be in a different place, to make that decision, because not everybody in Massachusetts is in the same place all the time,” Baker said at an afternoon press conference.

Each community is releasing details of its rollbacks. Here’s what we know so far:


Though it did not announce it was rolling back to Phase 2, Step 2, Arlington’s restrictions mirror the Phase 2, Step 2 restrictions. Bar seating is not allowed in Arlington, the town announced Monday. The new measures go into effect on Wednesday.


Boston announced it would roll back to a modified Phase 2, Step 2 beginning Wednesday. See more details here.


Brockton announced it would revert to Phase 2, Step 2 beginning Wednesday. In addition, bar seating is allowed in Brockton, but people can’t be served from behind the bar, according to an announcement from the city.



Lynn announced it would revert to a modified Phase 2, Step 2 beginning on Friday. The city’s restrictions are similar to those in Phase 2, Step 2, but it did not mention museums, aquariums, or arcades. Restaurants with bar seating will need to submit plans to the health department and implement additional protective measures, including plexiglass or another surface that separates customers from the bar and from each other and make sure the bar area is separated from customers by more than 6 feet, according to a statement from Mayor Thomas McGee.


Newton is going back to a modified Phase 2, Step 2 on Friday, marking the first time the city hasn’t followed the state’s reopening plan, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said.


Somerville announced it would roll back to a modified Phase 2, Step 2 beginning Wednesday. Bar seating will remain closed in Somerville.

Other towns

Walsh said Monday other towns are expected to join Boston in the coming days. Salem is “strongly considering” rolling back, according to Mayor Kim Driscoll. She added that she wanted to give the town’s businesses, notably the city’s museums, more time to prepare for a temporary closure.

Cambridge has been working on recommendations on the city’s reopening plan that will be discussed with public health officials this week, a spokesman for the city said in an e-mail Tuesday, and an announcement on any proposed recommendations is expected by next Monday.

Chelsea is not reverting to a previous phase of the state’s reopening plan because the city doesn’t have many of the businesses that would be impacted by the move, and officials have determined that in keeping the city’s three gyms open, “the economic harm will far outweigh any positive health benefits,” City Manager Thomas Ambrosino said in an e-mail.


Everett is “analyzing the data” to decide how to move forward, a spokeswoman for Mayor Carlo DeMaria’s office said in an e-mail.

Framingham is not rolling back its reopening because other MetroWest communities are not implementing additional restrictions, the city said in a statement.

Needham is also not planing to roll back its reopening because it does not have a lot of the venues that the Phase 2, Step 2 restrictions target, Director of Public Health Tim McDonald said, according to a statement from the Newton-Needham Regional Chamber.

Film and TV production

Film and TV production, which is not allowed to operate under Phase 2, Step 2 of the state’s guidelines, will be allowed to continue in Boston, Somerville, and Brockton, according to statements from those cities.

Amanda Kaufman can be reached at Follow her @amandakauf1. Shirley Leung is a Business columnist. She can be reached at