Starting Monday, indoor performance venues, including concert halls and theaters, can open at 50 percent capacity, with a 500-person limit. Live entertainment, excluding singing, may resume in restaurants. Indoor and outdoor stadiums, arenas, and ballparks will be allowed to host spectators at 12 percent capacity if they submit a COVID-19 response plan to city licensing authorities beforehand.
Overnight camps can open Monday, as can exhibition and convention halls, subject to gathering limits. Dance floors will be permitted at weddings, and indoor recreational activities such as laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, and obstacle courses can open at half capacity.
All private gatherings and events will remain subject to current capacity limits of 10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors, according to the mayor’s office.
“This is consistent with the cautious approach that we’ve taken throughout the pandemic,” Walsh said of the city’s slower reopening pace.
City authorities said Friday that Boston will not move beyond Monday’s reopening steps until the city’s testing positivity rate stays below 2.75 percent for two consecutive weeks. As of late last week, the city’s positivity rate was 3.5 percent.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, our response to COVID-19 has prioritized public health, while recognizing the need to protect the economic well-being of our businesses and residents,” Walsh said in a statement on Friday. “As our city reopens, we need everyone to recommit themselves to following the public health guidance. It’s incumbent on each of us to stay vigilant, even as we reopen more parts of our economy. It’s thanks to everyone’s cooperation throughout the pandemic that we’re able to open further.”
Walsh is expected to be confirmed as the nation’s labor secretary on Monday.
Road races, street festivals, parades, and fairs will still be barred. Amusement, theme, and water parks, as well as beer gardens, breweries, wineries, and distilleries must also remain closed.
Lastly, bars and nightclubs cannot offer entertainment, beverages, or dancing without seated food service.
Starting Monday in Boston, Walsh said during a later City Hall briefing, indoor performance venues such as concert halls and theaters will be allowed to reopen at 50 percent capacity with no more than 500 people. But that only applies, he said, to venues where audience members stay in designated seating areas during performances.
“We need to do everything we can to get these businesses back,” Walsh said during the briefing. “In order to do that, we need everyone to do their part.”
He stressed that precautions such as mask wearing and physical distancing remain vitally important, as do vaccinations of eligible parties.
“I want to thank our public safety first responders in Boston, particularly police and fire, EMS, who have gotten the shot, thank you for doing that,” Walsh said, while also thanking teachers and school staffers for getting inoculated. “We’re going to keep putting equity at the heart of our local efforts here in Boston. We have vaccination sites all across the city of Boston that are open” for eligible residents.
Those sites include the mass vaccination site at the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, Walsh said, where 50 percent of appointment slots are being held for people of color in the community.
On the schools front, Walsh touted that Boston Public Schools in 2020 posted the highest four-year graduation rate ever recorded in the city.
“That is a good story,” Walsh said. “Our kids have done it. They’ve done an amazing job, doing great work. … I am so proud of the Class of 2020,” which he said “adapted and moved forward.” He also thanked the parents, teachers, coaches and counselors who supported the students throughout stressful year.
City Council President Kim Janey will become acting mayor once Walsh leaves his City Hall post. Janey, who will be the first Black Bostonian and first woman to be the city’s mayor, is planning a swearing-in ceremony for next Wednesday.