Mass. gyms, other establishments begin welcoming guests back as Phase 3 of reopening plan commences

CAMBRIDGE, MASS. (WHDH) - Massachusetts has moved into Phase 3 of the state’s reopening plan, meaning gyms, museums and additional establishments can reopen their doors with restrictions as of Monday.

Gov. Charles Baker said Thursday that a positive trend in many key health metrics, including a significant drop in new COVID-19 cases and a decline in hospitalizations, made it possible for the state to move forward with the launch of Phase 3.

Outdoor wedding and performance venues, movie theaters, casinos, museums, guided tours, fitness centers, and indoor pools are allowed to reopen.

Boston will not move forward with Phase 3 until July 13, according to Baker.

Lucio Paolini, co-owner of Evolve Fitness in Cambridge, says he has a number of guidelines in place to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“We are going to be doing a thermometer temperature check with our staff and our patrons when they enter the club,” he described. “We are going to ask the patrons to wash their hands when they come in.”

Gyms must limit their capacity at no more than 40 percent and sanitizing stations need to be in place. Gymgoers will also be required to wear a mask. Every other machine will be blocked off and there will be markings on the gym floor to enforce social distancing.

Steve Stabile, owner of Blink Fitness in Medford, says they are adjusting to these requirements.

“We said, ‘You know what? Let’s get open,’” he said. “We’ll build our barriers early next week. We’re not sure how the flow will be when we first open.”

Gym saunas and showers will remain closed to guests until further notice.

Employees of indoor attractions like museums and movie theaters are also eager to get patrons into the building.

Bridget Bali, of West Newton Cinema, says they’re taking the appropriate measures to allow for a safe viewing environment.

“All of the seats are numbered so they can be reserved in advance to make sure customers are distanced in between,” she said. “The show times will be staggered to allow for cleaning.”

Business owners say all these changes will require some flexibility but they’re staying optimistic.

“We’re all in this together,” Stabile said. “I’m gonna ask our members to be patient and understand we’re not perfect at this; we’re new to this as well.”

Casinos are also included in Phase 3 but are still preparing to reopen. The Plainridge Park Casino is set to open its doors on Wednesday, Encore Boston Harbor will open on July 12 and MGM Springfield plans to welcome back guests on July 13.

Read the state’s full Phase 3 guidance here.

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