BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said that while he hopes some businesses will be able to resume operations soon after May 18, he added it will be a gradual process and not “off to the races.”

“There won’t be anyone firing a starting gun on May 18 and saying everybody’s off to the races, but we do hope certain types of businesses and workplaces will be able to begin resuming operations, under the guidelines established through this process, and based on the fact that we will have hit certain triggers, with respect to the status of the virus here in Massachusetts,” said Baker.

Last week, Baker extended his order for non-essential businesses to remain closed. Initially it was set to expire on May 4, but Baker pushed it back until May 18.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and members of the recently formed 17-member Economic Reopening Advisory Board met at length over the weekend. She stressed on Monday that safety will be top priority, and it will be a gradual process.

“There seems to be some with an understanding that May 18 is a magical date. May 18 is the date that we said the report of this advisory board will be released,” she said, adding “It doesn’t mean that the economy across our Commonwealth will just reopen. It’s just not possible.”

Baker said the only sectors of the economy that will be allowed to open in the first days are those who can implement appropriate health guidance.

“In the coming weeks we’re prepared to have more concrete plans on what each phase of reopening will look like, where certain activities and industries fit into which phase, general business guidance about social distancing, personal protection, and cleaning protocols that all businesses will need to adhere to upon reopening, and industry specific guidance and protocols for reopening safely,” said Baker.

The governor said the advisory board has met with stakeholders from 23 different associations and coalitions. In total, the groups represent more than 100,000 businesses and 1.4 million workers in the state.

Among the groups represented were retail, the high tech sector, life sciences, restaurants, travel, tourism and lodging, banking, construction, and recreation. In addition, Baker said the board met with the Black Economic Council, the Latino Chamber of Commerce, and the NAACP.

In the upcoming days, representatives from labor, gaming, museums and cultural institutions, and sports organizations will be included in discussions.

Working with other states in New England will be key in the process, Baker said.

“Whether you’re talking beaches, or parks, or playgrounds, those are things we’re all talking about together because we know that, for each of us, the decisions we make with regard to how to operate those and how people access them is going to matter over state lines. It’s not a decision any of us can make and expect not to have an impact on others too,” said Baker.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that while the city is planning for the reopening phase, “we’re not at the point where we can begin to reopen.”

“We have to make sure that we’re taking all the right actions, every single step of the way. If we don’t, we risk dealing with a second and even worse wave of this virus. For everyone’s health and safety, and for the future of our city, we must get this right,” Walsh said.

Comments (18)
  1. Vincent Vega says:

    Massachusetts businesses will more likely be off to the poor house.

  2. Frank DeLorey says:

    I noticed this “news” site has ZERO coverage of the demonstration going on right now outside the state house!!!!

  3. tcg says:

    They be off to Bankruptcy Court and they deserve it. Good luck to all as your livelihoods and rights are taken away!

  4. Frank DeLorey says:

    If you do business in Massachusetts you are crazy and taking a huge risk. This is not the first time Baker crushed legitimate business with his knee-jerk fear based reactions. Remember the whole vaping sham….not a word any longer but he put the whole industry out of business here.

  5. helen says:

    Stop this madness……………..you must let places open, they are being ruined to the point of no return. People DO NOT make the money our government leaders are to be able to sit tight, stay at home etc…….i also feel that if the people are not let out soon, there may be violence and looting and human behavior, (for the most part society has avoided). Thinking a lot of people are getting to the boiling point. To open, even in stages, it has to be an improvement to what has been going on. OPEN SOON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. Kathy says:

    The comments above make me angry and disgusted. Do you even watch the news? You are LOSERS and in the minority. You irresponsible morons put your life, your families’ lives, and our lives at risk. Too much coverage on the small group of idiots that don’t wear masks and act irresponsibly. There should be more coverage on the majority that approve of keeping businesses closed and distancing. NO ONE likes this but it’s in the best interest of everyone to wear a mask and keep distance from one another including keeping most businesses closed. Governor Baker has done more RIGHT than any other governor in the country! So thankful he is running this state.

    1. djk says:

      You are in the minority, chica. Surrendering freedom for a fantasy of safety.

  7. JellyCat says:

    Now now, Kathy. Just because someone has an opposing view does not make them a moron, idiot or a loser. Being Americans, I believe we are still afforded the right to express our opinions.
    And remember, we’re all in this together…or so I’ve been told.

    1. Kathy says:

      I guess I have the right to express my opinion too. And if they’re taking others lives in their hands they deserve these names.

  8. Kathy says:

    Here’s an idea – let’s let anyone that wants to go back to work, restaurants, etc. and not follow the health professional’s guidelines, sign a waiver that says they will take responsibility for their actions. The waiver would exempt the government from having to pay for any Covid-related healthcare costs for them and make them personally responsible for anyone that they get sick. And that would go into a publicly available registry. Would these same people still be protesting?

    1. tcg says:

      My guesses that Kathy still has a job? Probably a State or City job where no one has been let go!

      1. Kathy says:

        I have filed for unemployment and haven’t received a payment yet. Got any other guesses?
        Is there some reason you aren’t able to file for unemployment?

    2. Kristina says:

      Kathy,
      I understand the sentiment. However, we need to keep these businesses closed and not grant people the option. This would force the waitresses and hairdressers to go back to work to serve these selfish people. They are protesting their right to convenience of having someone serve them.. not their liberties. They would rather force someone to risk their lives and go back to work for a fraction of pay, than cook a meal for themselves or cut or color their own hair for a few months. Hey I cut my boyfriend’s and my hair and it looks amazing! We have cooked meals at home and are saving money and learning a new skill. Unemployment is working for the majority of Massachusetts. Without spending all this money on luxuries, I think people can stay afloat and focus on health and their families.

  9. Fred Gosten says:

    Hey Kathy, guess what we are NOT in the minority. Stories like these are the BIGGEST pStories like these are the BIGGEST problem we have in dealing with this disease, period. The news/media outlets need to entice fear and panic in people to keep them tuning in to generate those advertising dollars. They want you to believe that any one who catches the disease is dead. This is simply not true. The vast, vast majority are surviving this illness, just like the flu. What the reports don’t tell you are the other comorbidity factors involved in people’s deaths, obesity diabetes, high blood pressure, hear disease, etc. The odds of a healthy person dying of COVID-19 is very low. I find it appalling that most all reports of COVID-19 deaths never contain any of the comorbidity factors that contributed to the individuals death – the news/media outlets should be ashamed of themselves for promoting such fear and panic in these already stressful times.

    People with 99.2% of all covid deaths also had at least one underlying disease, with 88% having at least two underlying diseases. At least 10,700 people in New York are thought to have covid-19 around the time when the first person in New York was diagnosed with it. And at least 17-20% are thought to have antibodies in the US now, which means the death rate is around 0.002-0.003%. This also means survival rate of 99.997-99.998% if you get covid..​

    Do your research. Stories like these are the BIGGEST problem we have in dealing with this disease, period. The news/media outlets need to entice fear and panic in people to keep them tuning in to generate those advertising dollars. They want you to believe that any one who catches the disease is dead. This is simply not true. The vast, vast majority are surviving this illness, just like the flu. What the reports don’t tell you are the other comorbidity factors involved in people’s deaths, obesity diabetes, high blood pressure, hear disease, etc. The odds of a healthy person dying of COVID-19 is very low. I find it appalling that most all reports of COVID-19 deaths never contain any of the comorbidity factors that contributed to the individuals death – the news/media outlets should be ashamed of themselves for promoting such fear and panic in these already stressful times.

    People with 99.2% of all covid deaths also had at least one underlying disease, with 88% having at least two underlying diseases. At least 10,700 people in New York are thought to have covid-19 around the time when the first person in New York was diagnosed with it. And at least 17-20% are thought to have antibodies in the US now, which means the death rate is around 0.002-0.003%. This also means survival rate of 99.997-99.998% if you get covid..​

    Do your research. roblem we have in dealing with this disease, period. The news/media outlets need to entice fear and panic in people to keep them tuning in to generate those advertising dollars. They want you to believe that any one who catches the disease is dead. This is simply not true. The vast, vast majority are surviving this illness, just like the flu. What the reports don’t tell you are the other comorbidity factors involved in people’s deaths, obesity diabetes, high blood pressure, hear disease, etc. The odds of a healthy person dying of COVID-19 is very low. I find it appalling that most all reports of COVID-19 deaths never contain any of the comorbidity factors that contributed to the individuals death – the news/media outlets should be ashamed of themselves for promoting such fear and panic in these already stressful times.

    People with 99.2% of all covid deaths also had at least one underlying disease, with 88% having at least two underlying diseases. At least 10,700 people in New York are thought to have covid-19 around the time when the first person in New York was diagnosed with it. And at least 17-20% are thought to have antibodies in the US now, which means the death rate is around 0.002-0.003%. This also means survival rate of 99.997-99.998% if you get covid..​

    Do your research.

    1. Jojo says:

      This is bull! Open the state Governor Baker; are you a republican I am starting to wonder. Open small businesses with a survival rate of 99% what are you doing! Your being part of the destruction of this country along with the democrats. Disgusting; if state regulated masks and people follow the guidelines why are you not opening; you should be ashamed!

      1. topsitall says:

        Gov Baker is following the guidelines set by the healthcare professionals appointed by Trump! Perhaps you need to read the guidelines.

    2. Kathy says:

      I agree that the media may sensationalize for viewership and that’s exactly why they show the protestors around the country but they don’t represent the majority. There are numerous surveys and the results show the majority of people are reluctant to go back to work, fly and go to restaurants. Curious where you get your information? My guess is Fox (BS) news. Fox doesn’t fact check. Do YOUR research! This is not the flu! 44% of people that have needed hospital care are under age 59 and many have no underlying problems. Don’t you understand that this could get worse and tax our economy more if you go back too soon?
      Go for it – take the risk… sign the waiver that you’ll be responsible for infecting others and will pay for your own healthcare if you get coronavirus. I hope just hope you don’t infect your family or overtax healthcare workers.

    3. Kristina says:

      I see people throwing around these numbers. When there is not adequate testing, there are no accurate statistics. Please factor in the deaths and health issues worsening due to overloaded hospitals and fear of going to the ER for non COVID19 emergencies. IF THIS CONTINUES TO WORSEN, MORE PEOPLE DIE. very simple concept. Our economy is so fragile and temperamental anyways… lets not kill our citizens to be slave to something that does not work for us anyway.

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