BOSTON (AP) — Restaurants were allowed to start offering indoor dining again, and so-called close-contact businesses including nail salons, tattoo parlors and personal trainers could reopen Monday under the latest phase of Massachusetts's coronavirus pandemic economic recovery plan.
In addition, the MBTA was cranking up service again, allowing more people to return to their offices, which are limited to 50% capacity under Gov. Charlie Baker's reopening plan.
Restaurants opening their indoor dining areas must space tables at least 6 feet (2 meters) apart, but bars, unattended buffets, and self-serve drink stations will remain closed for now. Parties are limited to a maximum of six people.
Workers are required to wear face coverings and must wash or sanitize their hands between table visits.
Employees of close-contact businesses as well as their customers are also required to wear masks, and frequently touched surfaces must be cleaned regularly.
Personal trainers can see clients by appointment only, and only one person at a time, or two if they are from the same household.
After boosting subway and bus service Sunday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority also increased commuter rail and ferry service Monday.
Face coverings will be required on buses, trains and ferries, and the T may make scheduling adjustments in response to overcrowding.
VIRUS BY THE NUMBERS
State health officials on Monday reported that the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 fell again as the state continued to make progress against the disease caused by the coronavirus.
There were 149 newly reported cases of the disease reported Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed and probable cases of COVID-19 to more than 107,200.
The total number of confirmed and probable deaths in the state attributed to COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic rose to 7,874 with the addition of 17 deaths reported Monday.
The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 fell to 920, down from about 1,400 two weeks ago. The number of people in intensive care fell to 180, down from 322 two weeks ago.
The number of probable and confirmed COVID-19 deaths at long-term care homes rose to 4,956, or nearly 63% of all deaths in Massachusetts attributed to the disease.
MASSACHUSETTS MARITIME REOPENS
The Massachusetts Maritime Academy has reopened to some cadets who need to complete hands-on training required for Coast Guard certification and graduation.
During the 2½-week program, 165 seniors in the marine engineering and marine transportation majors returned to the college's Bourne campus to finish training on the ship's simulator, Capt. Patrick Cunningham told the Cape Cod Times.
The virtual reality simulator is set up like a vessel’s bridge. Students come to class with a plan to move the vessel from one location to the next, with instructors tossing in some unexpected surprises they could encounter in real life.
The school has instituted coronavirus safety protocols, and students have been spread around the dorms, with two students per floor, each with their own bathroom.