Massachusetts to relax restrictions in coming weeks

Coronavirus

BOSTON (WPRI) — Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday that Massachusetts will be easing its outdoor mask mandate starting Friday, as the number of hospitalizations and cases continue to decline.

Beginning April 30, face coverings will only need to be worn outside when social distancing isn’t possible or if required by sector-specific guidance such as sports.

Masks must still be worn at all times in indoor public places and at public and private events, whether they’re indoors or outdoors, except when eating or drinking.

Effective May 10, industries listed in the second step of Phase 4 of Baker’s reopening plan can start operating at 50% capacity. Those include amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks.

Additionally, indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks can increase their capacity to 25%, and outdoor athletic events such as road races will be permitted.

With strict distancing requirements in place, singing can also resume at indoor performance venues, restaurants and other businesses on May 10, according to Baker’s office.

Later next month, on May 29, gathering limits will increase to 200 people inside and 250 outside for event venues and public and private settings.

That same day, outdoor festivals and parades can be held at 50% of their previous capacity, as long as safety plans are submitted to the local board of health. Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries can operate under restaurant rules with a 90-minute time limit and no dance floors.

The maximum table size for restaurants will be increased to 10 on May 29, and the requirement that food be served with alcohol will be eliminated.

Remaining industries will be allowed to reopen on Aug. 1, including dance clubs, saunas, indoor water parks and ball pits.

In addition, all industry restrictions will be lifted at that time and capacity will increase to 100% across the board, Baker said.

He did note however, that all of these dates are subject to public health and vaccination data and could change.

On Monday, health officials reported 812 newly confirmed cases and another 12 COVID-19-related deaths.

The data also shows 625 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, with 154 in the intensive care unit and 97 on ventilators.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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