CLIENT ALERT February 26, 2021 COVID-19 and Municipal Operations
The Governor announced on February 25, 2021, that the Commonwealth will advance to Phase III, Step 2 of the Commonwealth’s Reopening Plan at 12:01 a.m. on March 1, 2021. This Client Alert highlights enterprises that may reopen and changes to capacity limits.
Here is a list of the Orders, Acts, and Guidance referenced in this Alert:
· February 25, 2021, Governor’s COVID-19 Order #65 (Order Advancing All Communities to Phase III, Step 2 of the Commonwealth’s Reopening Plan)
· Further information from the Governor’s office regarding the imminent return to Phase III, Step 2 and the planned transition to Phase IV, Step 1 as of March 22nd.
· February 26, 2021, Advisory from the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (Regarding the Lifting of the 40% Cap on Seating Capacity)
Q. What enterprises are able to open their brick-and-mortar premises to workers, customers, and the public?
A. Pursuant to Order #65, all municipalities, businesses, and other organizations that are designated as Phase III, Step 2, may open on March 1, 2021. This includes indoor performance venues used for live performances (e.g., concert halls, theaters, and indoor performance venues not designated as Phase IV) and indoor recreational activities such as laser tag, roller skating, trampolines, and obstacle courses. A detailed list of enterprises in all four phases is provided in Exhibit A of Order #65.
Q. Has there been a change to capacity limits for Phase I, II, and III enterprises?
A: Yes. Indoor performance venues and indoor recreational activities may reopen at 50% capacity, with indoor performance venues limited to a maximum 500 persons. All other sectors with capacity limits may operate at 50% capacity, excluding employees. Finally, restaurants are no longer subject to a percent capacity limit, however, 6-foot social distancing must still be observed, no more than 6 people are permitted at a table, and patrons are still limited to 90 minutes at a table. Restaurants may host live musical performances, as long as 6-foot distancing between customers’ tables is maintained. Food courts remain closed.
Q. Can restaurants continue to sell alcoholic beverages with take-out orders?
A. Yes. Restaurants may continue to make alcohol sales with take-out orders until February 28, 2021, or until the end of the COVID-19 state of emergency, whichever comes later.
Q. Are there changes to the maximum size of public gatherings?
A. No. Beyond the change in capacity limits mentioned above, there is no change to the limits on public gatherings and gatherings at private residences. The Commonwealth anticipates increasing some of these limits on March 22, 2021, if public health metrics continue to improve.
Q. Has there been a change to the Governor’s mandatory mask order?
A. No. Residents of the Commonwealth must continue to wear masks and are encouraged to avoid contact with persons outside their immediate household. Order #65 rescinds Order #58 (which backtracked everything to Step III, Phase 1) effective March 1, 2021, however, the Travel Advisory and all other public health orders remain in effect.
Please contact us as further questions arise.
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