Governor Charlie Baker announced new changes to mask mandates and restrictions placed on businesses in Massachusetts throughout the pandemic.

Massachusetts is about to enter the final phase of its reopening process. According to a press conference from Gov. Baker today, public health metrics have reached a point where the outdoor mask mandate will be eased this week. In addition he announced that bars, amusement parks and outdoor water parks can reopen soon and restrictions on all businesses will be lifted on August 1.

His office released the following details:

Effective this Friday, April 30 :

  • Face covering guidance will be relaxed for some outdoor settings. Masks will only be required outside in public when it is not possible to socially distance, and other times based on “sector-specific guidance.”
  • Coverings will still be required at all times in indoor public places, and at events indoors or outdoors except when eating or drinking.
  • In private gatherings, face coverings are “recommended but not required.” The $300 enforcement fine will no longer apply.
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Effective Monday, May 10:

  • Large venues such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks currently operating at 12% capacity can increase crowds to 25%
  • Amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks will be permitted to operate at a 50% capacity after submitting safety plans to the Department of Public Health
  • Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events will be permitted to take place. Staggered starts are required and safety plans must be submitted at a local level
  • Youth and adult amateur sports tournaments will be allowed for moderate and high risk sports
  • Singing will be permitted indoors with strict distancing requirements at performance venues, restaurants, event venues and other businesses

Effective Saturday, May 29:

  • 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 operate at 50% of their previous capacity
  • Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries will be subject to restaurant rules with seated service only, a 90 minute limit and no dance floors.
  • Restaurant guidance will be updated to eliminate the requirement that food be served with alcohol and to increase the maximum table size to 10

Effective Sunday, August 1:

  • Dance clubs, and nightclubs can reopen
  • Saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs and other facilities can resume
  • Indoor water parks can return to business
  • Ball pits are allowed

On August 1, all restrictions will be lifted and capacity will increase to 100% for all industries, the Baker administration said. The gathering limit will also be rescinded.  It's worth nothing that Baker said it is possible that restrictions could be lifted earlier than August, “depending on vaccine distribution and public health data.”

 

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