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The original item was published from 9/30/2020 8:45:13 AM to 11/30/2020 5:05:04 PM.

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Posted on: September 29, 2020

[ARCHIVED] Phase III - Step II for Lower Risk Communities - Effective October 5, 2020

image of the Baker-Polito Administration logo

Date of Record: 09/29/20

The Baker-Polito Administration announced the transitioning of Phase III to Step II for lower risk communities to be effective on October 5, 2020.

PRESS RELEASE: On September 29, 2020, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that effective Monday, October 5, 2020, lower risk communities will be permitted to move into Step II of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. 

All other communities will remain in Phase III, Step I. Governor Charlie Baker also issued a revised gatherings order. 

Industry specific guidance and protocols for a range of Phase I, II, and III businesses will also be updated.


Phase III, Step II: 

On May 18, the Baker-Polito Administration released a four-phased plan to reopen the economy based on sustained improvements in public health data.

Last month, the Administration began releasing data on the average daily COVID cases per 100,000 residents, average percent positivity, and total case counts, for all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns. 

Lower risk communities are defined as cities and towns that have not been a “red” community in any of the last three weekly Department of Public Health (DPH) weekly reports.


Effective October 5, 2020, a limited number of sectors will be eligible to reopen, with restrictions, in Step II of Phase III for lower risk communities only

  • Indoor performance venues will be permitted to open with 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 people. 
  • Outdoor performance venue capacity will increase to 50% with a max of 250 people. 
  • For arcades and indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, additional Step II activities like trampolines, obstacle courses, roller rinks and laser tag will also be permitted to open and capacity will increase to 50%. 
  • Fitting rooms will be permitted to open in all types of retail stores.  
  • Gyms, museums, libraries and driving and flight schools will also be permitted to increase their capacity to 50%. 

Revised Gatherings Order: 

  • The limit for indoor gatherings remains at a maximum of 25 people for all communities. 
  • Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 50 people for all communities. 
  • Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings will have a limit of 50 people in Step I communities, and a limit of 100 people in lower risk, Step II communities.


*Based on the average daily cases per 100,000 residents, each City or Town has been designated as a higher risk (red), moderate risk (yellow), or lower risk (green community). Communities with fewer than 5 cases are not given a designation. Click on a community to see key COVID-19 statistics.

COVID-19 Community Level Data Map
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