The Baker-Polito administration announced this morning that Massachusetts will advance to Step 1 of Phase 4 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan on Monday, March 22.

Citing public health metrics that continue to trend in a positive direction, the administration is continuing steps to reopen the state’s economy.

On March 1, Massachusetts loosened capacity restrictions for several industries and advanced to Step 2 of Phase 3 of the reopening plan. Since then, COVID hospitalizations dropped by 20% and deaths dropped by 24%, according to the administration. The seven-day average of new cases in long-term care facilities dropped by 53%. The positive test rate remains below 2% and has been for several weeks now. The seven-day average of new cases is also down over this time by 7%.

Step 1 of Phase 4 will reopen a range of business sectors under tight capacity restrictions that are expected to be adjusted over time if favorable trends in the public health data continue. Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas and ballparks will be permitted to operate at a 12% capacity limit after submitting a plan to the Department of Public Health.

Also effective on March 22, gathering limits for event venues and in public settings will increase to 100 people indoors and 150 people outdoors. Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 25 people, with indoor house gatherings still limited to 10 people.

Dance floors will be permitted at weddings and other events only, and overnight summer camps will be allowed to operate this coming summer. Exhibition and convention halls may also begin to operate, following gatherings limits and event protocols.

Other Phase 4 sectors must remain closed.

Travel Advisory
The administration is also replacing the Massachusetts Travel Order originally issued last July with a Travel Advisory effective March 22.

The new Travel Advisory will urge all persons entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, to quarantine for 10 days upon their arrival if they have been out of the state for 24 hours or more.

The advisory does not apply to the following:
• Those returning to Massachusetts after an absence of less than 24 hours
• Travelers who have a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72 hours prior to their arrival in Massachusetts
• Workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions (as specified by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) while they are commuting to or from or while at work
• Travelers who are fully vaccinated 14 or more days ago and do not have symptoms

Travelers are also encouraged to consult and follow guidelines and requirements for travel from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.