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Are bars open yet? Are dinner parties OK? Here’s where reopening and restrictions stand in Mass.

Bartender Mellie Wiersma, left, talked with diners on the patio at Chickadee restaurant in Boston.Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff

As COVID-19 vaccinations ramp up in Massachusetts and cases and deaths due to the virus are significantly lower than the winter peak, Governor Charlie Baker is suggesting he may announce changes to some of the current restrictions in place in the state.

Massachusetts is currently in Phase 4, Step 1 of the state’s reopening plan, which involves capacity limits on businesses and indoor and outdoor gatherings and restrictions on restaurant operations. It has also kept certain businesses like bars that don’t serve food and nightclubs shuttered.

Baker told reporters last week that he may “have some stuff to say before the end of April” in regards to COVID-19 measures in the state.


With the possibility of an announcement in the coming days on more relaxed measures, what’s open right now in Massachusetts? What’s still closed? What are the rules on masks and travel?

Here’s a look at the measures currently in place.

Indoor and outdoor gatherings

Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards are capped at 25 people, and indoor house gatherings are limited to 10 people.

Gathering limits for event venues and in public settings are at 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors.

Business restrictions and capacity limits

Businesses with capacity limits are operating at 50 percent capacity, excluding employees.

Restaurants do not have a percent capacity limit, but tables must be spaced 6 feet apart and tables are capped at six people. Diners have a 90-minute limit at their table. Musical performances are allowed.

Movie theaters are open at 50 percent capacity with no more than 250 people. Indoor performance venues like concert halls and theaters and other indoor performance spaces are open at 50 percent capacity with no more than 500 people.

The state’s stadiums, arenas, and ballparks are currently capped at 12 percent capacity.

Higher-contact, indoor recreational activities like laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, and obstacle courses are open at 50 percent capacity.


Mask mandate

Massachusetts’ mask mandate requires people to wear face coverings in public both indoors or outdoors, regardless of whether they can stay 6 feet away from others.

Travel advisory

Massachusetts’ travel advisory urges people arriving in the state, including returning residents, to quarantine for 10 days if they have been out of the state for 24 hours or more.

The advisory does not apply to people if:

  • They are returning to Massachusetts after an absence of less than 24 hours
  • They are traveling to Massachusetts with a negative COVID-19 test administered in the prior 72 hours
  • They are workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions
  • They are fully vaccinated against COVID-19

What’s still closed?

Some venues are still closed under Phase 4, Step 1 of the state’s reopening plan, but can reopen under the next step, according to the state.

Still closed are:

  • Bars, nightclubs, dance clubs, or venues offering entertainment, drinks, or dancing that don’t provide seated food service prepared at the venue. The measure also applies to beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries.
  • Saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms at fitness centers and health clubs.
  • Amusement parks, theme parks, indoor or outdoor water parks, and indoor or outdoor ball pits.
  • Street festivals, parades, and agricultural festivals.
  • Road races and other large, outdoor, organized professional or amateur group athletic events.
  • Dance floors not at events.

Amanda Kaufman can be reached at amanda.kaufman@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.