Seyfarth Synopsis: The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has issued updated guidance for Massachusetts industries for the reopening order's Phase IV, Step One transition. The updated guidance features important revisions to the guidance for indoor and outdoor events. The updated guidance also includes various changes for other Massachusetts industries. The City of Boston also announced that it would move into a modified Phase IV, Step One that includes additional limitations.
On March 19, the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development offered updated sector-specific guidance for the Commonwealth's March 22nd transition to Phase IV, Step One. Although the guidance included minor changes to many industries, the most significant changes were to the guidance for indoor and outdoor events, including:
- Under the new guidance, exhibition and convention halls, stadiums, ballparks, and arenas may re-open. However, amusement parks, ball pits, theme parks, water parks, bars, and night clubs, among others, must remain closed until Phase IV, Step Two.
- The new guidance sets capacity limits for events held at venues. Indoor venues must limit attendance to no more than 100 people, while outdoor venues must limit attendance to no more than 150 people. At any capacity, venues must ensure that attendees can maintain at least six feet of distance. Large capacity venues that can accommodate 5,000 people or more must submit a COVID safety plan to obtain approval to operate at 12 percent capacity.
- Valet service may resume, but valets must use hand sanitizer before and after parking vehicles.
- Table service at event venues may exceed 90 minutes, but bars must remain closed until Phase IV, Step Two. However, please note that table service at restaurants not located at event venues must continue to limit table service to 90 minutes per party.
- Performers at indoor and outdoor events may play wind or brass instruments. Dance floors may open for events only, but face masks must be worn at all times on the dance floor.
In addition to updates to the guidance for indoor and outdoor events, the Commonwealth has provided less sweeping revisions to guidance for various industries, including:
- Restaurants may once again permit the use of self-serve beverage stations, subject to certain limitations. Floor markers must be used to ensure social distancing and the beverage station must be frequently disinfected.
- Food courts in retail centers may resume operations. Tables in food courts must be at least six feet apart from each other and any foot traffic. Use of tables and chairs must be limited to 90 minutes per party, and must be sanitized between uses.
- Fitness and health club equipment now only needs to be spaced six feet apart, and group fitness class participants need to maintain only six feet of physical distance.
- Guidance regarding the applicability of the travel order has been rescinded in light of the Governor's decision last week to replace the travel order with a travel advisory.
Following the issuance of the updated Massachusetts guidance, the City of Boston announced that it would move into a modified Phase IV, Step One and that businesses operating in Boston would be subject to additional limitations. These restrictions include, among others, stricter limits on gatherings and the requirement of further approvals for large capacity venues to resume operation.
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