May 18, 2020 by Hilary Jenison
Today, Governor Baker announced a four-phased approach for reopening Massachusetts, enabling residents and business owners to return to a new normal over the next few weeks and months ahead.
The four phases of reopening, each lasting for at least three weeks, will be determined by progress in driving down the number of new cases and hospitalizations, increasing testing capacity, and other health metrics. State officials warned that if public health data trends are negative, specific industries, regions, and/or the entire Commonwealth may need to return to an earlier phase.
A "Safer At Home" order was also put in place today, which provides some leniency from the previous “Stay At Home” order. Residents are still required to wear face masks in public when a social-distance of six-feet cannot be kept. The “Safer At Home” order requires:
- People over the age of 65 and people who have underlying health conditions – who are at high risk for COVID-19 – should continue to stay home except for essential errands such as going to the grocery store and to attend to healthcare needs
- All residents are advised to leave home only for healthcare, worship and permitted work, shopping, and outdoor activities
- All residents are REQUIRED to cover their face when they cannot maintain six feet of social distance in public
- All residents are advised to wash their hands frequently for at least 20 seconds with soapy water
- All residents are advised to be vigilant, monitor for symptoms and stay home if you feel sick
Further guidance/interpretation from the State on the “Safer At Home" order includes that residents:
- Only leave home for health care, permitted work, shopping, and outdoor activities
- When going to the pharmacy ask if you can fill your prescriptions for 90 days if possible; for some medications this is not allowed. If you are at high-risk, try to use a mail-order service
- Don’t participate in close contact activities such as pick-up sports games
- Use remote modes of communication like phone or video chat instead of visiting friends or family who are high risk for COVID-19.
- Refrain from visiting nursing homes, skilled nursing facilities, or other residential care settings
- Parents should limit play dates for children
Beginning today, Construction sites, manufacturing facilities, hospitals and community health centers, and houses of worship can begin open their doors adhering to strict guidelines and outdoor services are recommended.
Beginning on Monday, May 25, offices outside of Boston can open to employees, at a 25% capacity limit, as well as laboratories and car washes. Additionally, hair salons, barber shops, and pet grooming may reopen by appointment only. All businesses must meet new mandatory workplace safety standards prior to reopening.
Additionally, on May 25th in advance of Memorial Day - public beaches, parks, drive-in theaters, some athletic fields and courts, outdoor adventure activities, most fishing, hunting, and boating and outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves, and public installations will be allowed to open.
Phase II, which may begin as early as June 8th, will include additional retail store services, restaurants, lodging, spas, and nail salons with restrictions and space capacity limitations.
Phase two may also include recreational camps for children, but more information will be available by industry/sector in the coming weeks.
Public transportation will continue to operate under current limited schedules through Phase one of the State’s new plan. Phase two may include the reopening of the MBTA’s ferry service with reduced schedules.
Additional information, safety protocols and guidance per industry can be found on the State of Massachusetts website here: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts
The full four-phased plan can be viewed here:
The Anchor will be providing more local updates by industry regarding local openings in the coming weeks, so stay tuned for more details.