BOSTON (WHDH) - Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday that effective Monday, lower-risk communities in Massachusetts will be permitted to move into Step II of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan.
Lower-risk communities are defined as cities and towns that have not been a “red” community in any of the last three weekly Department of Public Health weekly reports.
This means that effective Oct. 5, a limited number of sectors will be eligible to reopen, with restrictions, in Step II of Phase III for lower risk communities only:
Indoor performance venues will be permitted to open with 50 percent capacity with a maximum of 250 people.
Outdoor performance venue capacity will increase to 50 percent with a maximum of 250 people.
For arcades and indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, additional Step II activities like trampolines, obstacle courses, roller rinks, and laser tag will also be permitted to open and capacity will increase to 50 percent.
Fitting rooms will be permitted to open in all types of retail stores.
Gyms, museums, libraries, and driving and flight schools will also be permitted to increase their capacity to 50 percent.
Some medical experts said they are concerned Massachusetts is trending in the wrong direction.
“If we look over the weekend, there were two days in a row with over 500 cases,” President of the Mass. Medical Society Dr. David Rosman said. “We hadn’t seen that since May.”
Rosman continued to say that the impending flu season is only going to make things worse.
“The combination of flu spreading as well as being indoors and spreading COVID, it really put us at a tenuous space right now,” he said.
While some experts see a troubling trend, Baker insisted it is safe to move to the next step in the reopening plan.
When asked about cross-pollination issues where a person from a high-risk community goes to a now open facility in a lower risk community, Baker said:
“People still move around right? but, if you go to a roller rink, that roller rink has rules. That roller rink has guidance and that roller rink has protocols in place and everyone is going to ve expected to follow them.”
Revised Gatherings Order:
The limit for indoor gatherings remains at a maximum of 25 people for all communities.
Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 50 people for all communities.
Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings will have a limit of 50 people in Step I communities, and a limit of 100 people in lower risk, Step II communities.
A coalition of groups and individuals including doctors and health care leaders have released a letter the governor urging him to pull back not move forward.
They want casinos the be closed, no indoor dining, and added MBTA service among other things to keep people safe.
This is a developing news story; stay with 7NEWS on-air and online for the latest details.
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