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Boston Extends Tightened Business Restrictions By 3 Weeks

The new year will not bring a quick relaxation of heightened business restrictions in the state's capital.

Boston will extend its reopening rollback featuring lower business capacity limits and forced closures of several industries for another three weeks, Mayor Martin Walsh announced Tuesday, keeping them in place until at least Jan. 27.

Gyms, indoor fitness centers, movie theaters, museums, aquariums, most indoor athletics facilities, organized tours, arcades and more in Boston must now remain shuttered for even longer after the holiday season amid what Walsh described as a worrying increase in the city's COVID-19 case totals and positivity rate.

Indoor gatherings — both public and private — will be limited to a maximum of 10 people, while outdoor gatherings can include no more than 25 people.

"I want to be clear: this is not about targeting specific sectors as a cause of the virus spread," Walsh said at a press conference. "This is an effort to reduce the overall activity happening outside of people's homes. In another three weeks, we're going to re-evaluate the situation. If the metrics have moved in the right direction, we'll be able to lift the restrictions, and I hope and pray we'll be able to do that. If the metrics get worse or even before that, we might have to put in place further restrictions."

Boston and several other municipalities first introduced the new restrictions as a three-week measure on Dec. 16.

The city restrictions are tighter than the current statewide reopening rules. Gov. Charlie Baker implemented a similar short-term rollback that took effect on Dec. 26, reducing gathering limits and requiring many businesses — including some forced to close in Boston — to lower their capacity.

Baker said Monday that he will likely announce toward the end of the week if he will extend those statewide restrictions beyond their Jan. 10 expiration date.

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