Coronavirus

Here’s the timeline for the phaseout of COVID-19 restrictions in Massachusetts

Boston is following the state's reopening plan on a mostly delayed schedule.

Trillium Garden on The Greenway, Sept. 24, 2020. Craig F. Walker / The Boston Globe, File

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With vaccination rates continuing apace and infection rates trending downward, Gov. Charlie Baker announced plans this week to continue reopening businesses in Massachusetts and phase out the final set of restrictions over the course of this spring and summer.

If all goes according to plan, Massachusetts will lift virtually all COVID-19 restrictions by August — with the exception of the mask mandate for indoor public settings — and many sectors will see limits relaxed over the course of May. However, the state’s largest city, Boston, is delaying most aspects of the process by three weeks due to its dense neighborhoods and business districts, and other cities and towns have the ability to do so as well.

Here’s a look at the timeline:

Friday, April 30

  • Mask mandate relaxed to only require face coverings outside in public when it is not possible to socially distance, or when required by sector specific rules (such as when at an outdoor stadium or event venue). Face coverings will still be required in indoor public places and at outdoor events. The state is also getting rid of the potential $300 fine for violations.
  • Boston increases limits on public gatherings from 60 people indoors and 100 people outdoors to 100 indoors and 150 outdoors, in alignment with statewide gathering limits. Private gatherings across Massachusetts remain limited to 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors.

Monday, May 10

  • Large indoor and outdoor stadiums and performance venues allowed to increase their maximum capacity from 12 percent to 25 percent.
  • Amusement parks, theme parks, and outdoor water parks allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity (not in Boston).
  • Road races allowed to resume under safety protocols, including staggered starts (not in Boston).
  • Large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events and tournaments allowed to resume (not in Boston).
  • Singing allowed at indoor performance venues, restaurants, event venues, and other businesses, with distancing requirements (not in Boston).

Saturday, May 29

  • Statewide limits on both public and private gatherings, including event venues, increase to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors (not in Boston).
  • Street festivals, parades, and agricultural festivals allowed to resume at 50 percent of their previous capacities (not in Boston).
  • Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries (that do not also serve food) allowed to reopen, though only for seated service. Tables remain limited to 90-minute seatings, and dance floors are required to stay closed.
  • The requirement on restaurants to serve food with alcohol is eliminated.
  • Restaurant table limits are lifted from six people to 10 people.

Monday, June 1

  • Boston allows amusement parks, theme parks, and outdoor water parks to reopen.
  • Boston allows road races and other outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events and tournaments to resume.
  • Boston allows singing at indoor performance venues, restaurants, event venues, and other businesses.

Saturday, June 19

  • Boston lifts limits on public and private gatherings to 200 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.
  • Boston allows street festivals, parades, and agricultural festivals to resume.
  • Boston allows bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries (that do not also serve food) to reopen for seated service, though tables remain limited to 90-minute seatings and dance floors are required to stay closed.
  • The city also lifts table limits from six people to 10 people and eliminates the requirement for restaurants to serve food with alcohol

Sunday, August 1

  • Dance clubs and nightclubs; saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms; indoor water parks; and ball pits are allowed to reopen (not in Boston).
  • All businesses allowed to resume operations at 100 percent capacity (not in Boston).
  • All gathering limits are rescinded (not in Boston).
  • Masks still required in indoor public settings.

State officials have said they may lift this last wave of restrictions before Aug. 1, depending on COVID-19 vaccination and infection rates.

Sunday, August 22

  • Boston allows dance clubs and nightclubs; saunas, hot tubs, and steam rooms; indoor water parks; and ball pits to reopen.
  • All businesses in Boston allowed to resume operations at 100 percent capacity.
  • Gathering limits in Boston are rescinded.
  • Masks still required in indoor public settings.

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