Mass. moves to next step in Phase 4 of reopening plan


BOSTON (WPRI) — Massachusetts is further reopening its economy on Monday, bringing changes to large capacity venues, sports tournaments, and more.

As the state moves into Step 2 of its Phase 4 reopening plan, some outdoor industries will be able to operate at 50% capacity, including amusement parks, theme parks, and outdoor water parks, following a submission of safety plans to the Department of Public Health (DPH).

Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events will also be allowed with staggered starts and other appropriate safety measures after submitting safety plans to a local board of health or the DPH.

Some sports and music fans are also welcoming changes at large capacity venues.

Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, and ballparks have been open at 12% capacity as part of Phase 4, Step 1 last month, but will now be permitted to increase capacity to 25%.

Tournaments for youth and adult amateur moderate and high-risk sports will also be allowed to take place.

The next step of the state’s plan says singing will also be allowed indoors “with strict distancing requirements at performance venues, restaurants, event venues, and other businesses.”

Also beginning Monday, Massachusetts grocery and retail stores with a pharmacy department will no longer be required to offer senior hours, though the state says dedicated hours of operation for seniors should still be considered.

Subject to public health and vaccination data, capacity will increase to 100% for all industries, with businesses encouraged to continue following best public health and safety practices.

Since March 22, Gov. Charlie Baker’s office says daily new COVID-19 infections have dropped by 45%, hospitalizations have dropped by 23%, and deaths have dropped by 69%. Additionally, Baker’s office says these metrics have dropped by around 80% or more since the beginning of the year.

Baker tweeted Monday that over the weekend, over 4 million people in Massachusetts received at least one dose.

As of Sunday, around 2.9 million people in Massachusetts are fully vaccinated.

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