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Boston's Phase 3 Reopening Starts Monday: Here's What to Expect

The city is set to enter the next step in the state's reopening plan on Monday

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The City of Boston is set to enter Phase 3 of reopening on Monday, one week after the state implemented the third phase amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Boston took an extra week due to unique concerns in the city, according to the city's Mayor Marty Walsh. Most other Massachusetts cities and towns entered Phase 3 on July 6.

Industry specific guidelines have been developed for indoor fitness centers and health clubs, museums, guided tours and cultural and historical facilities and outdoor events.

Here's what to expect in Boston, beginning Monday:

Museums will be limited to 40% occupancy, and eight people per 1,000 square feet for any facilities that don't have a permitted occupancy on record. Signage must be posted spelling out social distancing guidelines, and exclusive hours are encouraged for high-risk populations. Physical barriers are required for ticket and checkout counters, and directional pathways are to be established to manage visitor flow.

Tours, including trolleys, harbor cruises or duck boats, occupancy must be limited to 50% of the tour vehicle's maximum permitted occupancy. Groups of passengers are to be separated by empty seats or staggered rows. Walking tour groups must be limited to no more than 10 people. Guides and guests need to maintain six feet of distance and wear face coverings.

Fitness centers and health clubs are limited to 40% occupancy, and all equipment must be arranged to that exercise areas are at least 14 feet apart. Spacing may be adjusted to six feet apart if barriers are installed. Visual markers must also be installed to encourage customers to remain at least six feet apart. Directional pathways must be established to manage visitor flow, and common spaces need to be reconfigured to ensure at least six feet of physical distancing between workers. Face coverings are required for all workers and visitors. If a face covering cannot be worn during strenuous fitness activities, there must be at least 14 feet of physical distancing. Partitions must be installed at service counters and other areas where physical distancing is not available. Fourteen feet of physical distancing must be maintained between attendees in group fitness classes. Contactless payment and sign-in are encouraged.

Outdoor events of up to 50 individuals will be allowed by permit. That is less than the 100 people allowed under the statewide guidelines. The 50-person capacity limit applies to permitted events on all outdoor properties owned by the city, including parks; low and moderate contact amateur sporting events at Boston parks; and all outdoor events, whether on public or private property permitted through the Special Events Committee. Events larger than 50 but no greater than 100 will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Attendees will be required to follow guidelines around face covering and social distancing.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh warns residents to stop setting off fireworks. 'They're illegal in Boston.'

Boston City Hall meetings will continue to be held virtually for the time being.

Boston Public Library locations are also not ready to reopen to visitors, but will continue to provide remote lending at bpl.org or by calling (617) 536-5400.

Walsh said summer programs at Boston Center for Youth and Families community centers have been closed since March except for free meal distributions. But teen programs started this week virtually, and online registration opened Friday for day programs for children 7 and older, both virtually and in person.

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Boston Housing Authority is extending its moratorium on nonessential evictions through the end of the year, officials announced Friday.

The mayor said the city is still working on different models for what school will look like when it reopens in September. He said he expects to announce those plans in the next week to 10 days.

"We're moving forward with caution because we're seeing what's happening with other states when they rush," he said. "Every day in places like California and Florida we see new highs. Those highs are because residents and people there didn't take the precautions we have in Boston and Massachusetts. We want to continue to move forward."

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