When most of Massachusetts shifts into phase four of the state's reopening plan Monday, Boston will adopt a modified version with lower caps on most indoor and outdoor events, Mayor Martin Walsh announced Friday.
"This is consistent with the cautious approach that we've taken throughout the pandemic," the mayor said during a City Hall press conference. "It's not a lot of changes but there are some changes that we are not going to be moving forward with as much as the state."
Instead of allowing up to 100 people to gather indoors and up to 150 people to gather outside, Walsh said Boston will only allow indoor gatherings of up to 60 people and outdoor gatherings of up to 100 people until the city's positive test rate stays below 2.75% for two consecutive weeks. For private residences, the gathering limits will remain at 25 people outside and 10 people inside. The city's positivity rate is currently at 3.5%, the mayor said.
The city's more stringent restrictions will not apply to indoor or outdoor stadiums, arenas or ballparks, meaning that Fenway Park and TD Garden will still be able to host fans up to 12% of their maximum capacity starting Monday, Walsh said. He said the city will also wait for its positivity rate to stay below 2.75% for two weeks before allowing Fenway or TD Garden to increase the number of fans allowed at games.
"The case numbers have stayed below our thresholds of concern for about a month now. We are ready to move forward to reopening, so we're happy in the trend we're going. We're obviously not where we completely want to be, but we're getting to a better place," Walsh said. But he added: "The trend has been flat for several weeks. So we did see a decline, but it's been flat for the last several weeks. So we know that we still have work to do to make sure that we combat this virus."