April 18, 2021

Volume XI, Number 108


April 16, 2021

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Massachusetts to Advance COVID-19 Reopening Plan; Boston to Delay Reopening

Governor Charlie Baker has announced that Massachusetts would advance to Step 2 of Phase III of the state’s reopening plan on March 1, 2021, relaxing restrictions on most indoor gatherings.

The City of Boston will move to Phase III, Step 2 as well, with some exceptions.

In addition, Governor Baker announced a plan to transition to Step 1 of Phase IV on March 22, provided that public health metrics continue to improve.

Phase III, Step 2

The change to Phase III, Step 2 of the reopening plan is based on a decline in key public health data, such as new cases and hospitalizations.

As of March 1, 2021, all cities and towns in Massachusetts will be under the following, loosened restrictions:

  • Indoor performance venues such as concert halls, theaters, and other indoor performance spaces will be allowed to reopen at 50% of capacity, with no more than 500 persons (does not apply in Boston until March 22)

  • Indoor recreational activities with greater potential for contact (such as laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, and obstacle courses) will be allowed to reopen at 50% of capacity (does not apply in Boston until March 22)

  • Capacity limits across all sectors with capacity limits will be raised to 50% (excluding employees)

  • Restaurants will no longer have a percent capacity limit and may host musical performances. However, live musical performances in Boston restaurants will not be allowed until March 22. All restaurants still must comply with six-foot social distancing, limits of six people per table, and 90-minute table limits.

Gathering Changes and Phase IV Start

Governor Baker announced that if public health metrics continue to improve, effective March 22, all communities in Massachusetts will move into Step 1 of Phase IV of the state’s reopening plan.

Effective on the planned advancement to Step 1 of Phase IV, the following industries will be permitted to operate at a strict 12%-capacity limit after submitting a plan to the Department of Public Health:

  • Indoor and outdoor stadiums

  • Arenas

  • Ballparks

Likewise, effective on March 22, gathering limits for event venues and public settings will increase to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 25 people, with indoor house gatherings remaining at 10 people.

Additionally, dance floors will be permitted only at weddings and other events, and overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate this coming summer. Exhibition and convention halls also may begin to operate, following gathering limits and event protocols. Other Phase IV sectors must continue to remain closed.

If public health metrics continue to improve, these capacity limits and gathering limits may be loosened even further.

Jackson Lewis P.C. © 2021National Law Review, Volume XI, Number 57



About this Author

Michael Bertoncini, Jackson Lewis, labor relations attorney, employment litigation lawyer, NLRB proceedings counsel, arbitration law

Michael R. Bertoncini is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He practices labor and employment law, with a particular emphasis on labor relations, and employment law counseling and litigation.

In labor relations matters, he regularly counsels clients on the practice of positive employee relations, negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of organized clients, represents clients in labor arbitrations and National Labor Relations Board proceedings, and counsels clients with...

Brian E. Lewis, Jackson Lewis, disability management issues lawyer, restrictive covenants attorney

Brian E. Lewis is a Principal in the Boston, Massachusetts, office of Jackson Lewis P.C. He exclusively represents management in all facets of workplace law.

Mr. Lewis routinely advises clients regarding day-to-day employment issues, such as employee discipline and discharge, disability management issues, proper payment of wages, reductions in force, and restrictive covenants. Mr. Lewis also has experience in representing clients on traditional labor law issues, and has appeared before the National Labor Relations Board. He...