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Cambridge says it won’t loosen coronavirus restrictions as much as state

A man wears a mask out of concern for the coronavirus while entering a bookstore in Harvard Square in November
A man wears a mask out of concern for the coronavirus while entering a bookstore in Harvard Square in NovemberSteven Senne/Associated Press

The city of Cambridge says it is taking a “cautious and measured” approach to reopening and won’t loosen coronavirus restrictions as much as the state.

The state moved to Phase 4, Step 1 of its reopening plan on Monday, but Cambridge plans to remain at Phase 3, Step 2 “until further notice,” the city said in a statement.

“The City’s team considers many factors when making decisions, including available science and local, regional, statewide, and national data trends. Remaining in Phase III, Step 2 is aligned with our ongoing strategy,” City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said in the statement.

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“If public health data trends shift, the City will reevaluate Cambridge’s reopening status, just as we have done throughout the pandemic. The City’s conservative approach to its phased reopening balances our efforts to minimize the public health impacts of COVID-19 with providing vital support to our residents and local business.”

The city said it was also restricting gathering limits for event venues and in public settings to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. The state’s limits are now 100 indoors and 150 outdoors.

The city and state are in synch, however, on indoor and outdoor gatherings at private residences. Both call for a limit on back yard gatherings of 25 people and a limit on indoor house gatherings of 10 people.

The statement said the city was also extending its current prohibition on city-sponsored community events, events permitted for the use of city parks, or other city-sponsored public gatherings, through May 31.

An emergency order the city issued on Feb. 26 prohibiting live musical performances at restaurants remains in place, the statement said. And indoor performance venues eligible to open under Phase III, Step 2 will need approval from the Inspectional Services Department prior to opening.

“While the ongoing rollout of the Commonwealth’s vaccination plan is encouraging, the City of Cambridge will continue to take a cautious and measured approach to activities and industries permitted in Cambridge and will continue to closely monitor public health data as part of its decision-making process,” the statement said.

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Officials urged people to continue to wear masks, socially distance, wash their hands, and limit the size of gatherings with people outside their immediate household. It also reminded people that free coronavirus testing is available at sites across the city.


Martin Finucane can be reached at martin.finucane@globe.com.