Gyms, fitness studios and movie theaters opened with limited capacity, increased cleaning and added restrictions in place Monday as the vast majority of Massachusetts entered Phase 3 of its reopening plan.
Museums and outdoor venues are also included in the latest phase, with the number of people allowed to gather increasing to 25 people inside, and up to 100 people outside. This means events like weddings can move forward — but without bars and dance floors.
In Salem, museums reopened on Monday with strict guidelines in place.
At the Salem Witch Museum, employees had to complete three days of COVID-19 training before returning to work.
"We have a lot of hand sanitizer. We have timed ticketing," museum director Tina Jordan said. "Our second exhibited is not guided, so we don't have a face-to-face interaction."
The Salem Trolley tours are also back up and running, but guests can only sit in every other row for social distancing. Each trolley is limited to 50% capacity.
"We'd rather have half the trolley filled with people then no trolleys filled with no people," Ron Olson of Salem Trolley said.
Tim Maguire, who runs outdoor walking tours in Salem, is hoping he can increase capacity soon. He is also following every protocol at his 3D Halloween Museum hoping to prevent a second surge in the fall.
"October is everything here. If we have a bad October, a bunch of these shops will not open next year," Maguire said.
Some indoor recreational activities that don't have much potential for high contact, like casino gaming floors, will be allowed in Phase 3. Professional sports without spectators and following league-wide rules will also be allowed.
Not every city entered Phase 3 on Monday, however. Boston will begin the third phase on July 13, after officials requested more time to prepare. Somerville will move into the next phase on the same date at the earliest.
The state has warned that not only is this considered the riskiest of phases — it is the one we will likely be in for the longest time until we enter the "new normal."
Fitness clubs and gyms, including places that offer weight training, spin classes and yoga, are reopening after months of being closed. Gym owners say they are ready with new safety precautions.
“In our more open areas, you’ll see we have boxes taped to the floor for private areas where you can bring your own equipment into the area and you don’t have to worry about getting too close to other people," said Matt Harrington, president of Gymit.
State guidelines mandate that the facilities keep their capacity under 40%, increase equipment cleaning and require patrons to wear face coverings.
At places like Gymit, there will be visual spacing guidelines, reduced hours, and not only will reservations be required — the facilities will be closing throughout the day for extra deep cleanings.
“My biggest piece of advice is take it easy your first couple of visits," Harrington said. "Our interpretations of state guidelines is that masks will be required at all times and if you’re not used to working out with a face covering, you’ll need to build up some tolerance to working with it.”
Facilities like Gymit, are also creating reserved time slots for people considered to be at risk.