Governor Charlie Baker is allowing “lower-risk” communities to transition from Step One to Step Two of Phase Three in the plan to reopen Massachusetts as of Monday, October 5.

According to Mass.gov, this transition means that areas who have not been in the “red” category for a minimum of three weeks can follow loosened restrictions starting next week. This “red” status is given to communities where the “average daily cases per 100,000 are greater than 8.”

As of Wednesday, September 23, New Bedford is the only SouthCoast community listed as “red” on the state's weekly map of COVID-19 spread published by the Department of Public Health.

For the areas deemed to be “lower-risk,” here is what Phase Three, Stage Two means as of Monday, according to the release from the Baker-Polito Administration:

  • Indoor performance venues will be permitted to open with 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 250 people.
  • Outdoor performance venue capacity will increase to 50 percent with a max of 250 people.
  • For arcades and indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, additional Step II activities like trampolines, obstacle courses, roller rinks, and laser tag will also be permitted to open and capacity will increase to 50 percent.
  • Fitting rooms will be permitted to open in all types of retail stores.
  • Gyms, museums, libraries, and driving and flight schools will also be permitted to increase their capacity to 50 percent.
  • Revised Gatherings Order:
    • The limit for indoor gatherings remains at a maximum of 25 people for all communities.
    • Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 50 people for all communities.
    • Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings will have a limit of 50 people in Step I communities, and a limit of 100 people in lower risk, Step II communities.

Massachusetts has been in Step One of Phase Three since Monday, July 6. Governor Baker announced that the state would remain in this phase until a vaccine or treatment for COVID-19 becomes available.

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