Reopening Guidelines Updated and a Message From the COVID-19 Command Center About Employer Vaccination Programs

Today, February 25, 2021, at 1:00 PM, Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito and Secretary Kennealy announced updates pertaining to the state’s reopening process and sector specific guidance. These include:
1.Phase 3, Step 2: Effective March 1st, the Commonwealth will move forward into Phase 3, Step 2. This will reopen:
·    Indoor performance venues such as concert halls, theaters, and other indoor performance spaces: Open at 50% capacity with 500 person max
·    Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact: laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, obstacle courses: Open at 50% capacity
2.Updated Capacity Limits: Effective March 1st the following industries will increase to 50% capacity. Employees will be exempt from capacity restrictions in all of these industries:
·    Arcades & Other Indoor and Outdoor Recreation Businesses
·    Close Contact Personal Services
·    Driving and Flight Schools
·    Fitness Centers and Health Clubs
·    Golf Facilities (indoor)
·    Libraries
·    Operators of Lodging (common spaces)
·    Museums, Cultural & Historic Facilities, Guided Tours
·    Office Spaces
·    Places of Worship
·    Sectors not Otherwise Addressed
·    Theaters and Performance Venues
·    Relevant EEA Industries – Youth sports spectators etc.
The following industries remain unaffected by capacity limits:
·    Drive in movie theaters
·    Construction
·    Laboratories
·    Manufacturing
3.Additional Guidance Changes:
·    Effective March 1st, Restaurants will no longer be subject to a % seated capacity limit and their capacity is limited only by the requirement of 6 feet between tables
·    Musical performances allowed in restaurants (with appropriate distancing)
·    90 minute time limit on tables stays in place
·    Limit of no more than 6 per table stays in place
·    Food courts remain closed
·    Effective March 1st, Fitting rooms may open in all retail businesses
4.Gatherings Limit: Effective March 22nd, subject to public health data, the gatherings limit will increase for event venues and public settings, but will stay the same in private settings:
·    Event Venues and Public Settings:
·    100 indoor
·    150 outdoor
·    Private Settings (such as private residences):
·    10 indoors
·    25 outdoors
5.Phase 4, Step 1: Effective March 22nd, subject to public health data, the Commonwealth will move into Phase 4, Step 1:
·    Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks will reopen with a 12% capacity limit:
·    A large venue is defined as a having a capacity of 5,000 or more
·    Venues with capacity under 5,000 are subject to the Indoor and Outdoor Performance Venue guidance
·    Large venues will be required to submit a safety plan to the Department of Public Health
·    Overnight Camps will be allowed to open for Summer 2021
·    Exhibition and Convention Halls may reopen, subject to gathering limits and event rules
·    Dance floors may open at weddings and events only
·    All other Phase 4 industries will not be able to open until a future reopening step. Those include:
·    Road races, street festivals, and parades, and fairs
·    Amusement parks, theme parks, outdoor water parks
·    Indoor water parks and indoor/outdoor ball pits
·    Saunas, hot-tubs, steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs, and other facilities
·    Beer gardens/ breweries/ wineries/ distilleries
·    Bars, dance clubs, and nightclubs—venues offering entertainment, beverages, or dancing and not providing seated food service
Updated guidance can be found at

COVID-19 Business Relief Grants

Today, an additional 1,108 businesses are receiving COVID-19 relief grants totaling more than $49 million in awards to help with expenses like payroll, benefits, utilities and rent. To date, the Baker-Polito Administration has awarded more than $563 million in direct financial support to 12,320 businesses impacted by the pandemic through the Small Business and Sector-Specific Grant Programs.

Each business meets sector and demographic priorities set for the two grant programs. More than half of grantees are restaurants, bars, caterers, operators of personal services like hair and nail salons, and independent retailers. Over half of the businesses receiving relief are women-and-minority-owned enterprises. 

Please see the message below from the COVID-19 Command Center:
At this time, we do not receive sufficient vaccine supply from the Federal Government to support an employer based vaccine program. Based upon federal supply projections, we had hoped and planned to allow companies to participate, however, we now ask the business community to hold off on efforts to set up employer based vaccination clinics.
The streamlining of the Commonwealth’s vaccination program comes as the state continues to do everything possible to increase the rate of administration of vaccines while operating in a very constrained environment. Massachusetts only receives 139,000 first doses of vaccine on a weekly basis from the Federal Government. That weekly allotment is far less than the supply the Commonwealth had expected to receive based on federal projections.
Our efforts to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of our vaccination program while ensuring equitable distribution has led to difficult decisions. Despite making challenging tradeoffs, Massachusetts is now ranked 1st in the country for administration of vaccines for states with more than 5 million people and 9th best among all states. In addition, Massachusetts is second in the administration of vaccines to individuals who are black. For the immediate future, the Commonwealth is focusing on large throughput locations that are available to all Massachusetts residents (as well as those who work or study here) until such time that vaccine supply increases dramatically.
We understand that some business may have taken steps to establish vaccination programs. We hope that as the vaccine supply increases, we will be able to continue to discuss employer sponsored clinics for employees who are eligible to receive vaccinations. We regret the necessity of taking this step at this time. Thank you for your continued partnership as we continue to battle COVID-19.
All questions can be referred to the COVID-19 Command Center by emailing