After multiple delays, Somerville is giving the green light to some Phase 3 businesses to reopen Tuesday with stringent safety requirements, weeks after most of Massachusetts entered the third phase of Gov. Charlie Baker's economic reopening plan.
Businesses like martial arts studios, gyms, yoga and dance centers, as well as arts and music classes, are among those able to reopen Tuesday.
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It’s been almost six months since indoor classes could take place at a Somerville martial arts studio.
“It was challenging to transition from coming in every day, seeing people face to face, and then having to lose that connection,” said Sasha Craine, owner and instructor at Oom Yung Doe.
The martial arts school went online when the pandemic shutdown began.
“We were lucky in that we were able to set up an at-home studio,” said Craine. “So we’re shooting out of our basement, out of our living room.”
Still, membership dropped almost 50 percent, and the owners have closed three of their five studios around metro Boston.
And while most of the state entered Phase 3 at the beginning of July, Somerville has moved at a slower pace and delayed Phase 3 multiple times.
While some businesses can finally reopen Tuesday, it won’t be easy financially given restrictions like capacity limitations.
“If you have over a hundred students and you can only have realistically probably about eight or less people in at a time it poses its own challenges,” said Alex Goode, an owner and instructor at Oom Yung Doe.
Everyone must wear masks inside, clients must register for classes, and businesses must have safety and health plans approved by the city before opening up.
“As long as we’re healthy there’s always that chance to build things back up and keep making things better,” said Goode.
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City inspectors will be visiting businesses to make sure they’re complying with coronavirus guidelines.
Other indoor facilities in Somerville like museums and movie theaters will remain closed for the time being.