reopening

Business Owners ‘Excited' for Next Step in Mass. Reopening Process

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has announced that lower-risk communities can begin Step 2 of Phase 3

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Forest Welling of Forrest's Family Fun in Taunton, Massachusetts, is thrilled he can re-open his roller skating rink Monday after being shut down due the pandemic.

"I'm opening up Monday night at 5 o'clock," he said. "After over six months of being closed, it's just very frustrating being closed for all that time, and I still have bills and I've had to struggle to pay all the bills."

Lower-risk communities in the state are able to move into Step 2 of Phase 3 of the reopening plan Monday, which means indoor and outdoor performance venues can open at half capacity, or 250 people max.

The gathering rule will also slightly change for those advancing to Step 2. The limit at outdoor event venues goes up from 50 to 100 people.

Arcades and indoor and outdoor recreation like laser tag, roller rinks and trampoline parks can now open at 50% capacity.

"It's obviously a big step in the right direction," said Kevin O'Hara of Lazergate in Fall River.

O'Hara said they're "going on six and a half months of doing no business, not able to do anything at all."

Welling has been critical of the reopening rules, wondering why ice rinks can open, but not roller skating, even demonstrating social distancing.

"It's so depressing when you walk in the building knowing no one can come in," Welling said. "Now it's all excited that people can come in and start skating again and exercising that's what it's all about."

Under this latest phase, retail stores will be allowed to open up fitting rooms again.

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