Massachusetts Plans Full Capacity Reopening for August 1

 by TWIW StaffApril 27, 2021

Governor Charlie Baker’s office released updates to the Reopening Massachusetts plan on Tuesday, April 27.

The update announces the plan for the full reopening of Massachusetts on August 1, when COVID-19 gathering and capacity restrictions, and limitations on all industries, are planned to end.

Baker's office stressed that all changes to COVID-19 related restrictions are subject to changes in public health data.

April 30

Mask and Face Covering Requirements Relax

The state will loosen the mask mandate when outdoors on April 30.

The requirement for a face coverings will apply only when outside, in a public place, and social distancing isn’t possible. Mandated face coverings for small gatherings in private homes will also end April 30. The State will end the $300 fine for non-compliance on the same date.

Massachusetts will continue to recommend face coverings for gatherings in private homes.

Face coverings remain a requirement at all times indoors when in public places. The requirement remains at all times at events both indoors and outdoors, both in public places or private homes.

May 10

Phase IV, Step 2

Effective May 10, Massachusetts will move into Phase IV, Step 2 of reopening. Amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks will open at 50% capacity.

Large venues, both indoors and outdoors, such as stadiums, arenas and ballparks, will increase to 25% capacity from the current limit of 12%. Regulations will enable venues to return singing to indoor venues under the standards for performance venues.

Prohibition of youth and adult amateur tournaments for moderate and high-risk sports will also end.

Large, outdoor organized amateur and professional group athletic events, such as road races, will reopen as well. They will face regulations for staggered starts after submitting a safety plan to the local board of health or the Department of Public Health [DPH].

May 29

Bars Reopen without Food Service Requirement

May 29 will bring the reopening of bars, beer gardens, wineries, and distilleries under the same compliance standards as restaurants. The requirement that food service accompany serving alcohol will end.

Although the food service requirement ends, the table service requirement within restaurants extends to bars.

Seating time maximums of 90 minutes, six-foot table spacing and a maximum of ten individuals per table in place in restaurants will also apply to bars.

Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals, at 50% capacity, will also reopen at this time.

Gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 outdoors for event venues and both public and private settings.

Dance floors remain closed.

August 1 - Full Reopening

Although Baker’s office said it may consider re-evaluating the August 1 date, it currently says that subject to public health and vaccination data, remaining business restrictions will end on August 1.

This includes limits on gathering, remaining business restrictions and capacity limits on all industries.

Examples include dance clubs and nightclubs, saunas, hot-tubs, steam rooms and health clubs, which will all be permitted to resume operations.

State University Vaccine Requirement

Nine state universities in Massachusetts announced on Monday, April 26, a COVID-19 vaccination requirement to access its campuses. The Universities will issue waivers for vaccination for the same reasons as other vaccine requirements in already in place, such as medical or religious reasons.

The State Universities requiring vaccination are:

  • Bridgewater State University
  • Fitchburg State University
  • Framingham State University
  • Salem State University
  • Westfield State University
  • Worcester State University
  • Massachusetts College of Art & Design
  • Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
  • Massachusetts Maritime Academy.

In a statement on April 22 the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges said its 15 member schools were not considering a vaccine mandate at that time. It also said that changes in public health data could cause those schools to consider such a mandate.

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