Live music slowly making a return as Massachusetts begins re-opening


Live music is slowly making its way back to Massachusetts — though there is a long way to go before we return to any sort of normalcy.

Governor Charlie Baker and Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito held a press conference today (February 25) in Salem detailing the next steps in the state’s re-opening plan. Beginning March 1, Massachusetts enters Phase 3, Step 2, where what Baker describes as “indoor performance venues” will be allowed to re-open at a 50 percent capacity, with a maximum of 500 people. That includes “concert halls, theaters, and other indoor performance spaces.”

Restaurants will be allowed to operate at full capacity — though with tables at least six feet apart, parties limited to six people or less, and with a 90 minute dining time — and host live music performances.

Come March 22, the state will enter Phase 4, Step 1, where indoor and outdoor stadiums with 5,000 or more seats will be allowed to open and operate with a 12 percent capacity. That means sports fans can attend games at TD Garden and Fenway Park.

As Boston Restaurant Talk notes, however, bars and nightclubs are to remain closed.

“We know how difficult these restrictions have been and continue to be for businesses both large and small all across the state,” Baker said earlier. “Today’s announcement is a good sign and a move in the right direction to get back to that next normal. But we know businesses continue to hurt and we have to find ways to get them get through all of this.”

Last year, at least seven Boston-area live music venues had closed due to the COVID-19 shutdown: ONCE Ballroom & Lounge, Thunder RoadBull McCabe’sBella Luna Restaurant & Milky Way LoungeWonder BarThe Cantab, and Great Scott (currently attempting to return in a new form at Allston’s old Regina Pizzeria building).

At his press conference Baker urged everyone to continue “doing their part,” which includes wearing a mask, staying socially distant, washing hands whenever possible, and spending a majority of our time with people of our own households.

“Getting to the other side of this still requires everyone to keep doing their part as the vaccine process rolls out,” he said. “We’re almost there.”

Watch the full press conference below, and read a more detailed description of the new phases and rollouts via @OnlyInBOS‘ tweet after the video jump.