Here’s what the second step of Phase 3 of the Massachusetts reopening plan actually means

From fitting rooms to escape rooms.

Gov. Charlie Baker reads papers during a press conference last week at the Massachusetts State House in Boston. Sam Doran / Pool

For most cities and towns in Massachusetts, the second step of Phase 3 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan began when the clock struck midnight Monday.

Related Links

Under an order signed by Gov. Charlie Baker last week, all but 29 communities where there is a higher risk of COVID-19 are being allowed to move forward in the four-phase reopening plan. That means the other 322 cities and towns currently classified as “lower risk” can progress to Phase 3’s second tier.

“It’s going to be like this until we have treatments and vaccines,” Baker said last week, noting that the final phase of the reopening plan will not begin until there is an effective treatment for the infectious disease.


For the cities and towns allowed to enter the second step of Phase 3, the move Monday also eases the limit on public, outdoor gatherings from 50 to 100 and loosens capacity limits for gyms, museums, libraries, and driving and flight schools from 40 percent to 50 percent.

But the phase’s second step also allows certain sectors and activities to reopen for the first time since the onset of the pandemic. Here’s the list:

  • Indoor theaters and performance venues, such as concert halls
    • Outdoor venues were allowed to open in the first step of Phase 3
    • Under the second step of Phase 3, performances at indoor venues may not include singing but may include the playing of wind or brass instruments. However, both are generally discouraged and can only take place under social distancing rules, according to state guidelines.
    • Limited to 50 percent capacity and no more than 250 people
  • Fitting rooms at all retail stores
    • Step 1 only allowed them to open in businesses “for which their operation is necessary”
  • Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact
    • Roller skating rinks, trampolines, obstacle courses, laser tag, and escape rooms
    • Recreational activities with lower potential for contact — including arcades, batting cages, driving ranges, bowling alleys, go-kart courses, and rock climbing gyms — have capacity limits loosened from 40 percent to 50 percent

Stadiums, arenas, ballparks, exhibition spaces, bars that don’t serve food, nightclubs, amusement parks, water parks, saunas, steam rooms, and ball pits remain closed until Phase 4.

Get's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.


This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on