Massachusetts is set to become the latest state to adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) new guidance on mask-wearing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Gov. Charlie Baker announced this week that beginning on Friday, April 30, the state will be lifting the outdoor mask mandate and will begin relaxing other pandemic-related restrictions that were put on businesses early in May.
As of April 30, masks will no longer be required outdoors as long as social distancing can be maintained. Anyone who is fully vaccinated will be permitted to walk, run, hike and bike outdoors alone or with members of their household without a mask.
Small outdoor gatherings with other fully vaccinated family and friends are also permitted, though masks must still be worn in indoor spaces.
Beginning on Monday, May 10, regular service will also resume at bars, with capacity limits expected to expand at gatherings throughout the month.
“The light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to the hard work of so many, is getting closer, and we can start to look ahead with real optimism at the path forward,” Baker said.
As of May 10, amusement parks and water parks will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity. Arenas and ballparks, which have been at 12 percent capacity, will move to 25 percent capacity.
Baker said that on Saturday, May 29, gathering limits will expand up to 200 people indoors and 250 outdoors. Bars, beer gardens, and wineries will also be permitted to reopen without having to serve food, but customers have to be seated and spaced out six feet apart.
Street festivals and parades will be allowed at no more than 50 percent capacity, if plans are approved by local boards of health. And restaurants may be allowed to increase table party size to 10 and start serving alcohol without food, similar to bars.
All other businesses are expected to reopen without capacity limitations by Sunday, Aug. 1, provided the COVID-19 numbers continue to show signs of improvement.
“We hope that with more vaccines, and a continued success in stopping COVID, we can take this step earlier, but it will depend on everyone continuing to get vaccinated and doing the right things,” Baker stated.
“I don't think we should do this with a one-size-fits-all," he said. "Let organizations, based on the people they serve, the folks that work for them, and whatever particular concerns they have about the spread and about COVID drive their decisions."
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