Gov. Approves Opening of Gyms, Museums, Cinemas & More in Phase 3 of COVID Reopening

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Gov. Charlie Baker, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.

Gov. Charlie Baker, with Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.

Beginning Monday, July 6, gyms, movie theaters and museums will be allowed to reopen as part of Phase 3 of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 reopening plan. Also allowed will be weddings and professional sporting events, but both have significant limitations.

Gov. Charlie Baker announced the beginning of Phase 3 Thursday afternoon, and said residents of the state have done a good job slowing the spread of COVID-19. He added that Phase 3 will not start in the City of Boston until Monday, July 13.

Phase 3 will be longer than previous phases, Baker said, and Phase 4 (the beginning of the “new normal”) will not begin until a vaccine or other treatment for COVID-19 is found. Baker also encouraged residents to remain vigilant in following steps to reduce the spread of the virus, including washing hands, wearing masks and socially distancing.

“We know that COVID-19 won’t be taking any time off this summer, and we need to maintain vigilance,” said Baker, who added that he did not want Massachusetts to have to move backward like other states have recently.

With July 4 coming up, he asked residents to celebrate in a way that is safe and prevents COVID infections.

Phase 3 applies to indoor fitness establishments, including fitness studios, weight lifting areas, yoga, aerobics, indoor pools and racquetball courts. They will be able to open at 40 percent capacity. Locker rooms and shower areas can reopen, too, but saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms will not be allowed to do so. These facilities will have to follow the state’s guidelines, including limiting the numbers of people and requiring face masks, said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito.

Indoor gatherings will be limited to eight people per 1,000 sq. ft. of floor space, with a total limit of 25 people. Outdoor gatherings in enclosed outdoor areas are limited to 25 percent of capacity, with a total limit of 100.

Movie theaters and indoor and outdoor performing arts centers are allowed to reopen if they are of “moderate size,” according to the reopening plan. They will have reduced capacities. Larger capacity venues will not open until Phase 4.

Also closed until the beginning of Phase 4 are bars and night clubs.

Professional sports teams will be able to play games, but without spectators, Baker said. The Boston Red Sox and Major League Baseball is set to start in late-July, with the first game between the Washington Nationals and the New York Yankees scheduled to take place on July 23.

Museums and small guided tours will be allowed to begin on July 6, too. Polito said museums will be limited in the capacity, and may have timed entry tickets. Also allowed to reopen are historic sites and houses.

Weddings and other large gatherings will be allowed, but Baker said that dance floors and bar areas will remain closed.

Indoor recreation businesses, such as trampoline, rock climbing, laser tag, bowling and go karts are allowed to open in Phase 3. Overnight camping will also be allowed.

Casinos are another business that will be allowed to open beginning Monday.

See a list of what will open in all the phases by clicking here:

13 thoughts on “Gov. Approves Opening of Gyms, Museums, Cinemas & More in Phase 3 of COVID Reopening

  1. There is no law that specifically gives a Massachusetts governor any such authority in a “public health” emergency.

    There simply is not.

    The legislature tried to amend the Civil Defense Acts of 1950 to allow for such an emergency, but it never passed.

    This is a fact.

    It is disturbing that citizens would allow the governor to get away with acting outside the law without any questions at all.

    This may not be pleasant for people to hear but it’s true.

    If you disagree, show us the law.

    • Have you thought John, that perhaps few have questioned the Governor’s authority and actions because he is reasonably acting in the interest of all citizens of the Commonwealth?

      Most people don’t want to get sick and die, or have their lungs, heart and kidneys ravaged by this virus.

      Right now, we in Massachusetts can take comfort in the fact that we have at least stabilized the contagion and new infections are decreasing while other areas of the country are spiking.

      Most people understand that, while this time has and continues to be difficult, it is in the best interest of all to blunt the impact of the virus. No opening will be a real opening if we do not get this pandemic under control.

      Stay safe. Stay well.

    • No, Ethan, MGL Chapter 17, Section 2A gives the power to the Health “COMMISSIONER” and “the public health council” NOT the governor.

      Here is what the law says:

      “The commissioner, with the approval of the public health council, may establish procedures to be followed during such emergency to insure the continuation of essential public health services and the enforcement of the same.”

  2. I think it’s time for the Watertown Health Department to revisit their policy on face coverings. As it is now, face coverings are required by all when outside on any public property in Watertown regardless of whether you can remain 6 feet apart. This seems extreme. I’m definitely for wearing face coverings but if you are walking on a sidewalk, walking on the track, etc and there is no other person around you then a face covering really serves no purpose. Our policy is a bit extreme and makes very little sense.

    To the best of my knowledge we are the only town that has gone beyond what Gov. Baker has put in place for face coverings. Most towns have adopted the policy of our governor and require face masks outdoors when you can’t maintain that 6 foot distance. Again, I believe face coverings are necessary to help prevent the spread but wearing a face covering outside when no one is close to you, 6 feet, 8 feet, etc makes very little sense.

    • I can ask around. I have not heard of anyone. Has anyone received a citation, or heard about someone who did? The most enforcement of social distancing rules I have heard about is by the Rec Department at parks and fields.

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