Boston to move into Phase Three, Step One of reopening Feb. 1

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Photo: Jakob Menendez

Marty Walsh speaks to reporters after casting a vote for Presidential Candidate Joe Biden at The Lower Mills branch of The Boston Public Library on November 3, 2020.

By Frankie Rowley, Assistant News Editor

Boston will move to Phase Three, Step One of reopening on Feb. 1, Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced Tuesday, allowing a slew of businesses to reopen after a month of closures. 

Boston entered Phase Three in early July prior to the Dec. 14 rollback to Phase Two, which closed businesses like movie theaters, gyms, and museums. The city, which was expected to move back into Phase Three in early January, extended the rollback following post-holiday case surges. 

Walsh announced the businesses and industries authorized to reopen on Feb. 1 in his City Hall press conference. The list includes movie theatres, museums, aquariums, indoor health and fitness centers, sightseeing and organized tours, including duck tours, harbour cruises, whale watches, and indoor historical spaces and sites. 

Walsh said most businesses will still be subject to the 25 percent capacity limit that has been extended until Feb. 8. All gatherings must also remain at their respective capacity limits—10 people indoors and 25 people outdoors. 

The announcement to move to Phase Three, Step One comes weeks after Massachusetts experienced a three-week spike in COVID-19 case numbers. Entering the new year, the state saw record-breaking highs, with cases reaching over 7,000 three times within two weeks. Since then, cases have slowly begun to decline, averaging under 5,000 a day. On Dec. 14, when Walsh halted the reopening, daily cases were also averaging just under 5,000. 

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After the press conference, Walsh sent a tweet urging residents to stay diligent in taking precautionary measures. He added the city will continue to heed the advice of health professionals as it reopens. 

“Throughout the pandemic, #Boston has taken a cautious approach,” he wrote. “We only move forward with reopening if public health experts say it’s safe. Everyone has a role to play in making sure we can bring back more activities, safely.”