fb-pixel Skip to main content

Governor Charlie Baker on Tuesday announced a timeline for easing COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and gatherings and reopening shuttered venues in Massachusetts, with most restrictions in the state lifted by late summer.

In a statement, the Baker administration cited increasing vaccinations and declining COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations while announcing the updates set to take place on May 10, May 29, and Aug. 1.

Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey said Tuesday afternoon that most of the city’s reopening timeline will trail the state’s by three weeks.

Boston, which has previously moved on a slower reopening timeline than the state, will aim to have most restrictions lifted in the city by Aug. 22, Janey announced at an afternoon press conference.

Advertisement



Baker also relaxed outdoor mask-wearing guidance in the state, announcing that effective Friday, masks will only be required outside in public when it is not possible to socially distance. The current guidance in the state requires people to wear face coverings in public both indoors or outdoors, regardless of whether they can stay 6 feet away from others.

Baker’s announcement came as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also issued updated guidance on wearing masks outdoors.

Here’s a look at the newly released timeline for reopening in Massachusetts.

On Monday, May 10:

  • Large venues, including indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, and ballparks, can increase capacity to 25 percent. They are currently operating at 12 percent capacity.
  • Amusement parks, theme parks, and outdoor water parks can reopen. They will be allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity after submitting safety plans to the Department of Public Health.
  • Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events can take place. They will need to have staggered starts after submitting safety plans to a local board of health or the DPH.
  • Youth and adult amateur sports tournaments will be allowed for moderate- and high-risk sports.
  • Singing will be allowed indoors with distancing requirements at performance venues, restaurants, event venues, and other businesses.

On May 29:

  • Gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors for event venues, public settings, and private settings. The Baker administration noted that this is subject to public health and vaccination data.
  • Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals can reopen. They will be allowed to operate at 50 percent of their previous capacity and after submitting safety plans to the local board of health.
  • Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries can reopen. The establishments will be subject to restaurant rules with seated service only, a 90-minute limit, and no dance floors.
  • The restaurant guidance will be updated to eliminate the requirement that food be served with alcohol. Maximum table size will increase to 10 people.

On Aug. 1:

  • Dance clubs and night clubs can reopen. Saunas and hot tubs at fitness centers, health clubs, and other facilities can reopen, and indoor water parks and ball pits can reopen.
  • All industry restrictions will be lifted, capacity will increase to 100 percent for all industries, and gathering limits will be rescinded. The administration noted that businesses are encouraged to continue following best practices.

“Depending on vaccine distribution and public health data, the Administration may consider re-evaluating the August 1st date,” the statement noted. “The Department of Public Health will also continue to issue guidance as needed, including guidance to still require masks indoors.”

Janey noted that Boston has opted to delay its reopening compared to the state because Boston is denser than other communities in the state and has vulnerable populations.

Boston will align with the state’s relaxed mask mandate effective Friday, Janey said, but the city will operate on a delayed timeline when it comes to adjusting public and private gathering limits and allowing certain venues to reopen.

Advertisement



Here’s a look at where Boston’s reopening timeline differs from the state’s:

On June 1:

  • Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events can take place.
  • Youth and adult amateur sports tournaments will be allowed for moderate- and high-risk sports.
  • Singing will be allowed indoors with distancing requirements at performance venues, restaurants, event venues, and other businesses.

On June 19:

  • Gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors for event venues, public settings, and private settings.
  • Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals can reopen. They will be allowed to operate at 50 percent of their previous capacity.
  • Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries can reopen. The establishments will be subject to restaurant rules with seated service only, a 90-minute limit, and no dance floors.
  • The restaurant guidance will be updated to eliminate the requirement that food be served with alcohol. Maximum table size will increase to 10 people.

On Aug. 22:

  • Dance clubs and night clubs can reopen. Saunas and hot tubs at fitness centers, health clubs, and other facilities can reopen, and ball pits can reopen.
  • All industry restrictions will be lifted, capacity will increase to 100 percent for all industries, and gathering limits will be rescinded.



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