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Vaccination eligibility expands as state eases business restrictions

Vaccines are readied at the Hynes Convention Center.
Vaccines are readied at the Hynes Convention Center.Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

More than 800,000 people in Massachusetts became eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on Monday, as the state moved forward with its plan to reopen sectors of the economy that have been closed amid the pandemic.

The state, which has moved to Phase 4, Step 1 of its reopening plan, also downgraded its longstanding travel order to an advisory.

Those entering Massachusetts are no longer required to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival if they have been out of the state for longer than 24 hours but are encouraged to do so.

As of Monday, indoor and outdoor stadiums — including Gillette Stadium, TD Garden, and Fenway Park— can run at 12 percent capacity after submitting a plan to the Department of Public Health. Public gatherings are now limited to 100 people indoors and 150 people outside, while private gatherings will remain limited to 10 indoors and 25 outside.

City officials in Boston are taking a more cautious approach. Public gatherings in the city can increase to 60 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, according to the Boston Public Health Commission.

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Outdoor dining also began in Boston Monday, except in the North End, where restaurants will be allowed to serve diners outdoors starting on April 1.

More than 1 million people in the state have been fully vaccinated.

Among those eligible to be vaccinated as of Monday are about 450,000 people ages 60 to 65, along with 360,000 workers in specific industries, including employees of grocery stores, restaurants, transit agencies, and funeral homes.

The groups join several others already eligible for vaccines in the state, such as those 65 and older, people with two or more qualifying health conditions, K-12 educators, health care workers, and first responders.

Medical device and biotech companies had lobbied to ensure that workers in their industries were deemed essential as part of the second phase of the vaccine rollout, as “medical supply chain workers.”

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The Baker administration shortened and simplified its definition of the phrase last week, no longer specifically mentioning biotech, in advance of Monday’s expansion of vaccine eligibility. However, a spokeswoman for the state COVID-19 Response Command Center confirmed that the definition had not changed and that no job title that had been previously listed in the longer description had been excluded.

Jon Chesto and John Hilliard of the Globe staff and correspondent Jeremy C. Fox contributed to this report.


Shannon Larson can be reached at shannon.larson@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @shannonlarson98.