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City of Boston to move into modified Phase 4, Step 1 of the Mass. Reopening plan

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Mayor's Office

The City of Boston will not advance beyond the reopening steps outlined today until the citywide testing positivity rate stays below 2.75 percent, as calculated by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), for two consecutive weeks.

Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced that the City of Boston will move into a modified Phase 4, Step 1 of the state’s Reopening Massachusetts plan, effective Monday, March 22, 2021. The City will allow additional activities, businesses and venues to resume or expand operations in light of improved trends in COVID-19 cases and vaccinations, as well as the state’s continued effort to expand eligibility and access to the vaccine. Boston’s measured approach to reopening aims to mitigate the pandemic’s economic impact while prioritizing public health. The City of Boston will not advance beyond the reopening steps outlined today until the citywide testing positivity rate stays below 2.75 percent, as calculated by the Boston Public Health Commission (BPHC), for two consecutive weeks.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our response to COVID-19 has prioritized public health, while recognizing the need to protect the economic wellbeing of our businesses and residents,” said Mayor Walsh. “As our city reopens, we need everyone to recommit themselves to following the public health guidance. It’s incumbent on each of us to stay vigilant, even as we reopen more parts of our economy. It’s thanks to everyone’s cooperation throughout the pandemic that we’re able to open further.”

In Boston, all private gatherings and events will remain subject to current capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. Public gatherings in Boston may increase to 60 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, lower than the Commonwealth's limits of 100 and 150 people, respectively. In alignment with the Commonwealth, the following industries in the City of Boston may reopen or resume on Monday, March 22, subject to certain capacity limits and safety measures: 

  • Indoor performance venues, such as concert halls, theaters, and other seated indoor performance spaces can open at 50 percent capacity, with a 500-person maximum capacity.
  • Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact, such as escape rooms, laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, and obstacle courses can open at 50 percent capacity.
  • Approved live entertainment may resume in restaurants, except singing. Brass and woodwind instruments are discouraged.
  • Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, ballparks or venues with capacity of 5,000 people or more can host spectators at 12 percent capacity. These venues must submit a COVID Response Plan to the City of Boston’s Licensing Board before beginning to host events.
  • Overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate.
  • Exhibition and convention halls can reopen, subject to gathering limits and event rules.
  • Dance floors will be permitted at weddings and other approved events only.

The following activities and businesses will not be allowed to reopen until further notice:

  • Road races, street festivals, parades and fairs
  • Amusement parks, theme parks, outdoor and indoor water parks
  • Indoor and outdoor ball pits
  • Saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs and other facilities
  • Beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries
  • Bars, dance clubs and nightclubs, offering entertainment, beverages or dancing without seated food service

As of March 11, the City was averaging 152.6 COVID-19 positive cases per day, with a citywide positivity rate of 3.5 percent. More detailed data related to COVID-19 in Boston is available on BPHC’s website. As of March 10, 23.7 percent of Boston residents 16 years-old or older have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine and 13.3 percent are fully vaccinated. 

For more information about the City of Boston’s reopening plan, visit boston.gov/reopening. For more information about the Massachusetts reopening guidelines, visit mass.gov/reopening.

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