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Massachusetts COVID Restrictions Loosen Monday, Including Restaurant Capacity

BOSTON (CBS) – Governor Charlie Baker is easing more restrictions as Massachusetts moves forward with Phase 3, Step 2 of its reopening plan.

Starting Monday, restaurants will no longer have a percent capacity limit, but social distancing has to remain in place.

Only six people are allowed per table and a 90-minute time limit is in place. Musical performances will be allowed starting Monday.

Gyms and offices can expand to 50% capacity.

Concert halls, theaters and indoor recreational facilities like roller rinks and laser tag can re-open at 50% capacity.

Larger venues are capped at 500 people, excluding employees.

Gatherings at private homes and backyards remain limited to 10 people inside and 25 outdoors.

The City of Boston is holding off on some aspects of re-opening until after St. Patrick's Day.

The city's going to let most businesses operate at 50% capacity, but indoor performances and musical performances at restaurants won't be allowed until March 22.

The City of Somerville is remaining a step behind the state in its reopening plan. The restrictions mean capacity limits won't be eased until at least March 15.

Also starting March 22, venues such as Gillette Stadium, Fenway Park and TD Garden can welcome fans back at 12% capacity.

But there are still many businesses that will have to remain closed until Step 2 of Phase 4 or later.

Here's the list, according to the state's website:

  • Bars, beer gardens without food, dance clubs and nightclubs
  • Amusement parks, theme parks, indoor or outdoor water parks and "ball pits"
  • Street festivals, parades and agricultural festivals
  • Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events
  • Saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms at health clubs, gyms, and other facilities

"It's a good step in the right direction, that's for sure," said Hanover Theatre President Troy Siebels. "Anything we can do to keep some dollars running through the door to keep our staff employed."

The Hanover Theatre in Worcester has been closed since the pandemic hit. They are eager to fill seats even if shows won't return until the fall.

Brookline gym Healthworks is also optimistic. "The increased capacity is huge. We're starting to see an uptick of people ready to come back, getting vaccinated all those things," said General Manager Molly Flynn.

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