Big venues set to expand capacity as state eases limits

BOSTON — Large event venues including TD Garden, Fenway Park and Gillette Stadium will be allowed to double their current capacities starting on Monday, and amusement parks will be permitted to reopen at half capacity as the state relaxes its COVID-19 restrictions.

The state is scheduled to move to the next step in its reopening plan, allowing large indoor and outdoor venues to increase capacity from 12% to 25%. Gov. Charlie Baker announced the shift last month, saying the state’s coronavirus cases had fallen 20% since March.

Amusement parks and water parks will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity after submitting safety plans to state health officials, and road races will be permitted with staggered starts.

The next step in reopening is scheduled for May 29, subject to continued progress in case rates and vaccinations. That shift would expand gathering limits to 200 people for indoor events and 250 people outside. Street festivals and parades would be permitted at half their previous capacity, and certain restaurant rules would be lifted, including a requirement saying alcohol can only be served alongside food.


Large vaccination clinics are beginning to slow down and close in Maine, but businesses aim to incentivize more vaccinations.

Employers can legally dismiss an employee if they can prove that an unvaccinated staff member would be a “significant threat” to others, but most are simply encouraging employees to get vaccinated.

And some are offering cold, hard cash to employees to get vaccinated.

In Portland, the owner of El Corazón is adding four hours to employees’ time cards — giving them four hours of extra pay — for getting vaccinated, WGME-TV reported. Across town at Flatbread Company, they’re paying employees a $100 wellness bonus if they get the shot. And Bangor Savings Bank is giving $500 to fully vaccinated workers.

“The last thing we want is for another lockdown,” El Corazon Restaurante Owner Joseph Urtuzuastegui said.


The New Hampshire Department of Revenue Administration is offering low- and moderate-income homeowners the chance to apply for property tax relief as the economic recovery continues from the impact of COVID-19.

The department is accepting applications for its Low and Moderate Income Homeowners Property Tax Relief program through June 30.

The department distributed more than $866,700 through the program last year, and nearly $45 million in total since the program launched in 2002.

“Although the COVID-19 situation has improved from this time last year, we understand that many face financial challenges,” Lindsey Stepp, department commissioner, said in a statement Friday. “We will work with qualified individuals to make sure they have the option to apply for tax relief.”