Gov. Charlie Baker announced on Thursday the state would move forward in its reopening plan.
Massachusetts on Monday reentered Step 2 of Phase 3 in its reopening, allowing businesses to expand capacity and restaurants to open at full capacity.
Capacity limits across sectors have been raised to 50 percent, excluding employees.
Theaters, concert halls and other indoor performance venues can reopen at 50 percent capacity with up to 500 people. Possibly high-contact indoor activities such as laser tag, roller skating, trampolines and obstacle courses can also reopen to 50 percent capacity.
Distancing guidelines will continue to apply to restaurants, meaning that many in Berkshire County will remain well below full capacity.
Supporters of the step have said greater economic activity would help businesses hurt by the pandemic. Critics have noted most employees of the businesses allowed to increase capacity remain unable to be vaccinated in Massachusetts.
In December, Gov. Charlie Baker had moved back a step in reopening amid rising case counts and increasing public pressure. He announced the state’s return to the second step of Phase 3 on Thursday, citing “significant decrease” in cases.
Baker said the state on March 22 would enter the first step of Phase 4, barring a rise in cases, which would allow indoor and outdoor stadiums to reopen at a 12 percent capacity limit.
Some businesses have welcomed the expansions. Public health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci and top Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials, have warned against prematurely rolling back restrictions.
Increasing capacity, allowing more #smallbiz to reopen their doors means MA is getting closer to some normalcy. This is welcome news for many #smallbiz who were struggling for too long. But still a long way to go before a complete economic recovery #mapoli https://t.co/krP9gjiFoG— NFIB Massachusetts (@nfib_ma) February 26, 2021
As governors across the country begin to ease some coronavirus restrictions, Dr. Anthony Fauci says he thinks the efforts are premature: “It is really risky to say, ‘It’s over. We’re on our way out. Let’s pull back.’” #CNNSOTU pic.twitter.com/KgRdxQxuDx— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 28, 2021