Mass. gyms, movie theaters can reopen Monday as state enters Phase 3

Coronavirus

BOSTON (WPRI) — More services and activities will be available in Massachusetts starting next week as the state moves into Phase 3, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Thursday.

Gyms and fitness studios will be able to reopen on Monday, June 6, along with movie theaters, outdoor performance venues, museums, and gaming floors at casinos with capacity limits and industry-specific safety protocols in place.

Reopening Mass: When can my business reopen?

For the city of Boston, the changes go into effect the following Monday, July 13.

Gyms will be limited to 40% capacity and visitors are required to wear a mask while not using equipment.

Mark Garganta, owner of Swansea Total Fitness, said he plans to open his doors at 5 a.m. Monday. He spent Thursday building hand sanitizer stations and getting the gym ready.

Certain machines won’t be available, according to Garganta, while those that are will be spaced 14 feet apart to adhere to the state’s guidelines, which is more than what the gym’s Bristol location had to do when it reopened last month.

“We’ve adhered to Rhode Island’s standards,” Garganta said. “We’ve actually had three spot checks in Bristol and we’ve gotten a high grade every time.”

The equipment also has to be sanitized after each use.

At Crossfit Prowess in Seekonk, owner Jason Harrington sectioned off stations where members can work out. He said he’s ready to reopen after seeing other gyms do so less than a mile down the road in Rhode Island.

“Disheartening that we couldn’t open and provide that service to our members, but I think everybody understands that the main objective is to keep everybody safe,” he said.

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Both indoor and outdoor sports can resume for all ages on a limited basis in Phase 3, and fishing and hunting tournaments can be held.

“Phase 3 will also authorize professional sports teams, under the authority of league-wide rules, to hold games without spectators here in Massachusetts,” Baker said.

Baker said he made the decision because the key public health metrics such as new cases and hospitalizations are trending in the right direction. He urged people not to get complacent, however, and continue to follow the public safety guidance, wear face coverings in public, maintain social distancing and stay home when sick.

“This may seem like a simple set of rules but it is proven to be enormously effective in slowing the spread of the virus,” he said.

On Thursday, the Mass. Department of Public Health reported 158 new confirmed cases and 37 probable cases, along with 51 more COVID-19-related deaths. More than 1 million tests have been administered in Massachusetts to date.

Full breakdown of today’s COVID-19 data (Mass.gov) »

More people can congregate in a social setting in Phase 3. Indoor gatherings will be limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet and should not exceed 25 in a single enclosed space.

Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces like concerts and sporting and community events will be limited to 25 percent of maximum capacity and a maximum of 100 people in a single enclosed space.

The restrictions do not apply to unenclosed outdoor spaces as long as proper social distancing measures are possible.

Health care providers can also start offering certain group treatment and day programs such as adult day health, day habilitation programs, substance abuse and outpatient services, and community-based day services for people with disabilites.

Phase 3 will have two parts and be significantly longer than the first two phases, according to Baker, since Phase 4 or the “new normal” will only begin once there’s a COVID-19 vaccine and therapeutic treatments.

More information on Phase 3 will be posted on Mass.gov.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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