Effective Saturday, May 29, Gov. Charlie Baker is lifting restrictions on all Massachusetts businesses, allowing them to reopen at 100 percent capacity. The state of emergency will end on June 15, Baker said in a press conference this week.
This decision means that bars, beer gardens, nightclubs, festivals, parades, saunas, health clubs, ball pits, indoor water parks, and other businesses can fully reopen by that date, with Baker encouraging adherence to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance regarding hygiene protocols.
Baker also had some good news for students. After consulting with the state’s COVID Command Center’s Medical Advisory Board, the governor determined that given the low rate of outdoor transmission of COVID-19, students, as of May 18, would no longer be required to wear face masks when outside. This applies to recess, physical education, youth sports, and outdoor learning environments and even when physical distancing cannot be maintained.
However, adults must continue to wear face masks when outside their school buildings if physical distancing cannot be maintained. Students and adults must continue to wear face masks when inside.
With regard to the May 29 reopening, industry restrictions will be lifted, along with the limit on gatherings, with the exception of remaining face covering requirements for public and private transportation systems and facilities housing vulnerable populations.
This earlier-than-expected full reopening is possible, Baker said, because the state is well on its way to meeting the goal of vaccinating 4.1 million residents by the first week of June. All remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted, along with the state’s face covering order.
The Massachusetts Department of Public Health will issue a new face covering advisory consistent with updated guidance from the CDC.
Non-vaccinated individuals are advised to continue to wear face masks and to social distance in most settings. The advisory is expected to recommend that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a face covering or social distance indoors or outdoors except in certain scenarios.
Revised face-covering updates, effective May 18, apply to youth and amateur sports, child care programs, and schools. Face coverings will continue to be required indoors for staff and K-12 students and for early education providers. Updated guidance for summer camps will also be released, effective May 29.