Governor Charlie Baker on Monday announced Massachusetts will lift all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on May 29, moving up the state’s reopening timeline by about two months.
Acting Boston Mayor Kim Janey announced Monday afternoon that Boston will join the state and rescind its COVID-19 measures on May 29.
Baker also said the state’s current mask order will be rescinded on that date and that Massachusetts will adopt a new measure that aligns with face-covering guidance for fully vaccinated people issued last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Masks will still be required in some settings, like public transportation, and Baker noted that businesses can choose to set their own requirements for vaccinations and masking.
“Thanks to your work, we’re willing to take the next step forward together,” Baker said during a press briefing. “Massachusetts is on track to reach the goal of vaccinating 4.1 million residents by early June, and this level of protection makes this step possible for the people of the Commonwealth.”
Here’s what’s changing for businesses and gatherings on May 29:
- There will no longer be capacity limits on indoor or outdoor gatherings
- All businesses can operate at 100 percent capacity, and restrictions will be lifted
- Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries can reopen
- Time limits, table-seating caps, and social distancing requirements at restaurants will be rescinded
- 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
- Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals can reopen
Under the state’s current order, people are required to “wear masks or face-coverings in indoor public places and outdoors when they are unable to maintain 6 feet from other people.”
Here’s what the new measure, effective May 29, means:
- Fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a face covering or social distance indoors or outdoors except for in certain situations
- Non-vaccinated individuals are advised to continue wearing face masks and to continue distancing in most settings
- Face coverings will still be required for all individuals on public and private transportation (including ride-hailing services, livery, taxi, ferries, MBTA, Commuter Rail, and transportation stations), health care facilities and providers, congregate care settings, and health and rehabilitative day services
- Face coverings will also remain required indoors for staff and students of K-12 schools and early education providers
Baker also said the state will end its state of emergency on June 15.
Baker’s announcement comes after the CDC last week eased mask-wearing and social-distancing guidance for fully vaccinated people, saying they no longer need to wear masks in most settings, with some exceptions.
If you’ve been fully vaccinated, “you can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance,” the CDC’s website states.
More restrictions in Massachusetts were set to be eased in late May and early August, according to the timeline Baker announced in late April.
On May 29, indoor and outdoor gathering limits were set to increase, bars would be able to reopen, and some restrictions at restaurants would be eased. On Aug. 1, more businesses, including night clubs and indoor water parks, could reopen, and all business restrictions, capacity limits, and limits on gatherings were set to be rescinded.
Boston’s expedited reopening marks an even more significant jump than the state’s. Janey had said in late April that the city would adopt the state’s reopening schedule but on a three-week delay, with the city set to fully reopen Aug. 22.
Amanda Kaufman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @amandakauf1.