Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announce the beginning of the third phase of the Baker-Polito Administration’s reopening plan at a State House press conference on July 2. Phase 3 begins Monday, July 6. (Photo courtesy Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office)

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced today that Phase 3 of the reopening of the Massachusetts economy will begin on Monday, July 6 in all communities except the City of Boston, with will begin Phase 3 on Monday, July 13.

Phase 3, named “Vigilant” by the state, will be divided into two parts. Step 1 will allow the reopening of movie theaters and outdoor performance venues; museums, cultural and historical sites; fitness centers and health clubs, some indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact; and professional sports teams (following their league rules) may hold games without spectators. The sector-specific health and safety guidelines for all of these activities should be posted on the state’s website at this link later today and over the weekend.

The administration is also expected to update or expand some activities that were allowed to reopen in Phase 2. For example, the guidelines for libraries, when updated, will also permit some in-building browsing by patrons, under strict conditions, and at local option. According to the governor’s office, those guidelines will be available on the state website soon.

While Phases 1 and 2 of the reopening process lasted between two and three weeks each, Phase 3 is expected to be in place much longer. Phase 4 (“New Normal”) will not begin until a vaccine to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 becomes available, or effective medical therapies are available to treat the disease and aid recovery.

In addition to moving to Phase 3, the governor updated the size limits on gatherings. Effective on July 6 for all communities except Boston (effective July 13 in Boston), indoor gatherings will be limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single, enclosed, indoor space. Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces will be limited to 25% of the facility’s maximum occupancy, with a cap of 100 people in a single enclosed outdoor space. This includes community events, civic events, sporting events, concerts, conventions and more. This order does not apply to outdoor, unenclosed gatherings if proper social distancing measures are possible.

Importantly, the revised gatherings order does not supersede previously issued sector guidance. The specific sector rules will remain in place until they are updated or changed by the administration.

Link to the Governor’s July 2 Executive Order on Phase 3
Link to the Governor’s July 2 Executive Order on Gatherings