Baker eases outdoor mask mandate, announces further reopening plans

BOSTON — Governor Charlie Baker has announced reopening plans for Massachusetts, including easing of the state’s mask mandate.

“If everything goes according to plan and everybody does the right thing in regards to getting vaccinated and we continue to see positive trends in case counts and hospitalizations, we believe we will be at the point where we can move to more fully reopen,” Gov. Baker said.

Effective April 30:

The outdoor mask mandate is being lifted for some outdoor settings.

Effective April 30, the Face Coverings Order will be relaxed for some outdoor settings.

Face coverings will only be required outside in public:

  • When it is not possible to socially distance
  • At other times required by sector-specific guidance.

Face coverings will still be required at all times in indoor public places. Face coverings will also continue to be required at all times at events, whether held indoors or outdoors and whether held in a public space or private home, except for when eating or drinking.

At smaller gatherings in private homes, face coverings are recommended but not required. The $300 fine as an enforcement mechanism will be eliminated.

This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance on outdoor mask-wearing.

>> Dr. Fauci says CDC expected to update mask recommendations soon

Baker is announcing further reopening plans for the commonwealth, following suit after neighboring states Connecticut, New Hampshire and Rhode Island are already moving forward in easing restrictions.

Effective May 10:

Large venues such as indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks currently open at 12% will be permitted to increase capacity to 25%.

Amusement parks, outdoor water parks can reopen at 50% capacity.

Road races and other organized athletic events will be allowed, pending safety plans approved by boards of health.

Youth and adult amateur sports tournaments will be allowed for moderate and high-risk sports.

Singing will also be permitted indoors with strict distancing requirements at performance venues, restaurants, event venues and other businesses.

“This is not only great news for our teams and all our fans, but more importantly represents a final step in the state’s COVID response plan and a much-anticipated return to normalcy,” Gillette Stadium said, in part, in a release Tuesday. “With today’s news, we look forward to expanding our venue’s capacity and hosting full-capacity crowds once again at Gillette Stadium this summer [...]

“As we move forward with this final step, we are committed to providing a safe and comfortable environment for any fan attending an event at Gillette Stadium and look forward to advancing our plans to fully reopen.”

Effective May 29:

Gathering limits are being increased.

  • 200 people indoors
  • 250 people outdoors

Wineries, bars and breweries are allowed to reopen.

  • Food order not required
  • Seated service required (no standing around allowed)
  • 10 people per table
  • 6-feet distance between tables still required

Street festivals and parades are allowed at 50% capacity.

Effective August 1:

All businesses can fully reopen, limitations and capacity all eliminated.

According to the Baker administration, camp requirements are still being reviewed based on updated CDC guidelines.

Baker has not announced when he will lift the indoor mask mandate.

The Governor got his second shot after the briefing and said, when it is safe to do so, he wants to spend time with his Dad.

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am that my dad survived this whole thing because that sure wasn’t true for a lot of people,” Gov. Baker said.

The other big question Boston 25 News asked the governor was whether he would consider doing different sets of rules for those vaccinated and those non-vaccinated. His short answer: the feds are not doing that, so it would be near impossible to do it at the state level.

Download the FREE Boston 25 News app for breaking news alerts.

Follow Boston 25 News on Facebook and Twitter. | Watch Boston 25 News NOW