Gov. Baker Details Mass. Reopening
In his press conference this morning, Gov. Charlie Baker detailed the latest information regarding the reopening of businesses and activities in Massachusetts. Under the guidelines, the reopening will be carried out in phases, with some services like construction and manufacturing opening as early as today.
The governor said the state’s reopening will be carried out in four phases: “start, cautious, vigilant” and “new normal.”
Phase one of reopening has two dates, May 18 and May 25. Today, some services like home remodeling/installation, construction and places of worship are permitted to reopen under the guidance of the new plan. As of now, no dates are set for the next three phases, but the governor said each phase will last a minimum of three weeks depending on reports of the public health data.
Phase two, which includes services like restaurants, hotels and spas, will begin no earlier than June 8. Phase three includes gyms, bars and museums, and this phase is set to begin on June 29 at the earliest. As of now, there is no set date for phase four, which will involve the reopening of large venues and nightclubs.
As of right now, New Hampshire is allowing restaurants to serve customers with the caveat that only outdoor seating is permitted.
Unless otherwise stated, businesses that are planning to reopen in future phases will be subject to certain limitations and guidelines that will be provided at a later date. All businesses are required to follow Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards and Sector specific safety protocols and best practices.
Under the guidance of the latest plan, all business must follow strict health codes. Mass.gov outlines the specific requirements needed to reopen; employers must wear and provide face masks for all employees; provide hand-washing supplies and capabilities; and sanitize hight areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs and restrooms throughout work site. Also on the site, employers can find information on where to obtain face masks and sanitation materials, as well as how to properly wear a face mask and proper hand-washing techniques.
PHASE 1 (May 18)
• Places of worship with guidelines and outdoor services are encouraged
• Essential businesses, manufacturing and construction
• Hospitals and community health centers can start with high priority preventative care and treatment for high-risk patients
• Public transit riders on the MBTA will be required to wear masks
May 25 (with restrictions)
• Personal services – hair salons, barbershops, pet grooming (curbside drop off/pick up) – all by appointment only
• Car washes – exterior washing only
• Laboratories and life sciences facilities
• Offices (not in Boston) but must be less than 25% maximum occupancy; work from home strongly encouraged
• Retail for remote services and curbside pick up
• Beaches, parks, drive-in theaters, athletic fields and courts, outdoor adventure activities, most fishing, hunting and boating, along with outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves, and public installations – all with guidelines
• Day Care: Childcare operating at reduced capacity and on an emergency basis for children of workers with no safe alternative to group care
• Offices in Boston: The state will issue a checklist for each industry. Businesses will have to check off everything and keep a written copy of its COVID-19 plan. The state will not inspect businesses before reopening, but if there is a problem, or if asked, businesses must be able to provide this paperwork. Each sector will have to meet specific safety standards to stay open. For construction and manufacturing, that means face coverings for all workers, unless it poses a safety hazard and hand washing stations have to be setup at all sites.
For places of worship, the guidelines state they have to limit the number of people to 40% capacity, masks need to be worn by anyone over the age of 5 unless there’s a medical issue, everyone who doesn’t live in the same home has to be seated at least 6 feet apart, and attendees should reserve a spot online to keep capacity.
PHASE 2 (No date yet – no earlier than June 8)
• With restrictions and capacity limitations – retail businesses, restaurants, hotels, nail salons and day spas
• Less urgent preventative health services, procedures and care, like dental cleanings and elective procedures
• Day programs like adult day health and day rehabilitation
• Campgrounds, playgrounds, spray decks, public and community pools all with guidelines
• On a phased basis, recreational day camps with restrictions
• Youth sports in limited fashion
• MBTA increases services, the Blue line goes to full service and ferries resume limited service
PHASE 3 (No date yet – no earlier than June 29)
• Gyms, bars, casinos and museums
•Youth sports with games and tournaments (limited crowd sizes)
• On a phased basis, residential camps with restrictions
•MBTA’s buses and Red, Orange and Green lines and ferries go to full service where staffing allows. Commuter rail moves to modified full schedule
PHASE 4 (No date yet – full resumption of normal activity)
• Large venues and nightclubs