Effective Friday, April 30, face coverings will no longer be required in many outdoor settings in Massachusetts and additional COVID-19 restrictions will be altered beginning May 10.
Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. announced this mask change and others in a press release before his press conference Tuesday afternoon. Masks will now only be required outside in public when it is not possible to socially distance. However, face coverings will still be required at all times in indoor public places.
They will also remain required at events, whether held indoors or outdoors and whether held in a public space or private home, except for when eating or drinking. For small gatherings, masks are recommended but not required. The $300 enforcement fine will be eliminated.
By August 1, all industry restrictions will be lifted at that time, and capacity will increase to 100 percent for all industries. The gathering limit will also be removed. The Department of Public Health will continue to issue guidance as necessary, including guidance to still require masks indoors.
Beginning May 10, other restrictions will be modified including stadiums and arenas can to increase capacity to 25 percent, up from 12 percent; road races will be allowed, provided they have staggered start times and submit safety plans to a local board of health/department of public health; and amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks can operate at 50 percent capacity after submitting safety plans.
Also on May 10, tournaments with youth and adult amateur athletes will be allowed for moderate- and high-risk sports.
Singing will also be permitted indoors with strict distancing requirements.
On May 29, gathering limits will increase to 200 people indoors and 250 outdoors. Bars, beer gardens, breweries, wineries and distilleries will be subject to restaurant rules with seated service only—a 90-minute limit and no dance floors. Restaurant guidance will also eliminate the requirement that food is purchased with alcohol and the maximum table size will increase to 10.
Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals can also occur at 50 percent of their previous capacity after submitting safety plans to the local board of health.
By August 1, the remaining industries will be permitted to open, including dance clubs and nightclubs, saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms at fitness centers, health clubs and other facilities, indoor water parks and ball pits.
The press release said that the Baker administration may consider reevaluating the August 1 date depending on vaccination distribution and public health data.