BOSTON (CBS) – Gov. Charlie Baker revealed the structure of Massachusetts’ coronavirus reopening plan, which will allow businesses to get back to work slowly. Baker said the state is hopeful the process can begin with Phase 1 on May 18.

READ: Massachusetts 4-Phase Reopening Structure

Baker initially ordered non-essential businesses to close due to the coronavirus pandemic on March 23.

“We’re anxious to try to get everybody back up and going as soon as it makes sense,” said Baker. “The goal of the reopening plan is to methodically allow certain businesses, services, and activities to resume, protecting public health and limiting a possible resurgence of new COVID-19 cases.”

Specifics on what type of business will be able to begin Phase 1 are expected to be released on May 18, “based on the trajectory of public health data.”

“In the first phase you should probably start with the things that don’t have a lot of direct contact with customers, or things where, if there is direct contact for customers, it’s the kind of direct contact you believe you could really carefully manage,” said Baker.

The phased reopening plan (Image credit: Mass.Gov)

The four phases are called “start, cautious, vigilant” and “new normal.”

“These last couple of months have obviously been painful and difficult and frustrating for us all. We are seeing positive signs that the work everybody has done has been paying off, and that makes it possible for us to be serious about a phased reopening,” said Baker.

Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito laid out mandatory workplace safety standards that all businesses will be required to adopt upon reopening.

All employees will be required to remain six feet apart “to the greatest extent possible” inside and outside workplaces.

Face coverings will be required, hand washing capabilities must be in place throughout the workplace, and “high touch areas” will need to be sanitized frequently.

Any time an active employee is diagnosed with coronavirus, the facility must be cleaned and disinfected.

“I would expect that the reopening is probably going to be somewhat uncomfortable … because it’s all different,” said Baker.

Comments (36)
  1. Mark says:

    Wasn’t the purpose of the shelter in place order to prevent overwhelming the hospitals with cases? From my understanding, cases never peaked above forecasts and/or overwhelmed the hospitals.

    Sure, the shelter in place flattened the curve, but as any math student knows it doesn’t reduce the area under the curve. That is, we always expected the number of infections to increase, just not as fast.

    So, after 2 months do we need to waste another 1-2 months “removing” restrictions? I think more resources spent protecting the elderly makes more sense. Let the younger healthy people go back to work and play, since they have the lowest chance of disease and/or complications.

    1. ianosmond says:

      A curve has two sides. It goes up, it turns, it comes down. You need to have the same protections in place during the “go down” phase as the “go up” phase. Because the curve turning and going on is based on jamming on the brakes all the way through.

      Whenever you stop jamming on the brakes, things go up again. Everything speeds up. You need to be stopped before you take your foot off the brakes.

      Getting past the worst of it is great. But it takes the same amount of time to get from “the worst of it” to “done with it” as it did to get from “it started” to “the worst of it.” We’re, hopefully, past the top of the hill. But we’re not at ground level yet.

    2. Aparajita says:

      The area under the curve does not remain the same irrespective of scenario. Furthermore, area under the curve may not be the metric we want to focus on. The peak may increase just as easily if proper precautions are not taken.

    3. Mary says:

      I agree, with the strategy of quarantining high risk and elderly which has been very effective in Taiwan. They did not interrupt their economy and they are right next door to China. Their death rate is low. Flattening the curve means you are spreading the mortality rate out over time, it doesn’t mean you are reducing it.

      1. ianosmond says:

        There are a couple of misconceptions in the comment threads here…

        First: flattening the curve DOES save lives — because you’re buying time until you get to definitive care. All the people who would have died if they were killed off early, but survived until there was a solid treatment protocol, or until a vaccine was created? They live. Social distancing is a holding action.

        Second: “herd immunity” doesn’t mean “killing off weak people.” It means “getting a vaccine.” If you’re talking about “killing off the weak”, what you’re talking about is “eugenics”, not herd immunity.

    4. Isaac says:

      You’re right. Quarantine was necessary these two months, but it should be done now.

  2. Karen says:

    I love the idea of being a Guinea pig….. let’s see how many of us die for the economy.

    1. ianosmond says:

      It does seem that they’re trying to make sure that they’re trying to at least be very careful to be doing this under veterinary care. So long as they’re going to go slow, go careful, and watch things and re-close if things start to go badly, I’m okay with this.

      Slow, careful, piece by piece, and making sure that things stay under control. If they can do that, I’m comfortable.

    2. Brian Kehoe says:

      Good idea. Lets keep everything closed and see how many suicides and mass murders from people going crazy instead. Keeping everything closed is far worse in my opinion.

    3. tcg says:

      Let’s keep everyone at home forever! Screw the economy, the government will send us all money! Lets let the hospitals, schools, fail! Who needs to but food! Why pay rent or your mortgage? The roads, bridges and infrastructure! Don’t need them! Electricity? Overrated! Medicine? Not important since I’m not leaving my house! That said thank you to all the Guinea Pigs keeping Karen safe at home.

      1. pj3 says:

        Absolutely no one is suggesting we “keep everyone home forever,” you’re arguing with a straw man you invented for the sole purpose of yelling into the internet void. Brian Kehoe is just wildly speculating about suicides and mass shootings… do you have any numbers to back this up? Maybe there will be an increase in suicides and violent crime… I don’t know (neither do you), but will they be 2000 deaths a day? Because that’s the number of daily Covid-19 deaths we’ve been sitting at for over a month. And that’s the number with social distancing, it would’ve undoubtedly been higher without it. That’s what we’re balancing with the negative effects of social distancing. This is a complicated problem which will only have a complicated solution. You two are only contributing nonsense to the conversation.

  3. Incessant Armoand says:

    Baker as always is lazy and stupid. According to their ‘plan’. if One employee tests positive, the place must be cleaned. But, of course, no mention of testing every employee. Or of mandatory self quarantine of employees who came in close contact with said sick employee for 14 days with pay?… (Ex: Fauci is self quarantining after ‘exposure’ … Baker and Polito never intend to test,or ask employers to pay employees who must self quarantine for 14 days. They are not stupid … tp they would never ask employers to protect employees or us. They are sickening, liars, POSs.

  4. Francis Tarnawa says:

    Let’s not forget 1918 I believe we should not go too fast to open up we have come a long way to this point so let’s just wait a little longer and be safe .As a vet let’s not charge into the battle so fast sit back and wait out the enemy and we will win.Amen

  5. BV says:

    This chart is lazy and dumb. Lets save .1% to ruin the 30-40% who are now going to be in financial ruin or worse. They failed nursing homes. That is where people are dying. And most of them are already actively dying. When they have kidney failure and also test + for covid, they list COD as covid because they get more money. Numbers are inflated. Stop buying what Baker sells you. He is an uninspiring leader incapable of making a decision. This state will never recover under him.

    1. tcg says:

      I think a lot of this is a smokescreen to cover up how they failed the elderly. Were basically heading into bankruptcy under this plan! I’m not religious but pray for the small, and medium size business owners. Large companies are heading south!

  6. Josie Albert says:

    I, for one, truly appreciate the governor’s careful and measured approach to reopening the economy!

  7. Mary says:

    I’m concerned about forcing healthy people to constantly wear masks. This does suppress the immune system as it limits oxygen to the respiratory system. If we are deliberately suppressing the immune systems of the healthy people who are back to work, when the phases are fulfilled and our society is open, these healthy people will be more susceptible to illness and most likely
    will be seen in the data spikes of the virus. Also you are preventing herd immunity if you force healthy people to compromise their immune systems for long periods of time.

    1. pj3 says:

      Wearing masks does no suppress your immune system. This is a myth. There is no evidence of this. By all means come back and post a peer-reviewed legitimate journal article that proves this, but I’m positive you won’t find one.

      And Herd immunity has to do with the inability of a virus to spread once enough people are immune to it (because they’ve been vaccinated or have already had the illness). Sure, masks slow the spread of the disease, thus slowing us reaching herd immunity levels of infection in the population, but reaching herd immunity (~70% of the US infected) shouldn’t be the goal without a vaccine. Quick back of the envelope math… US population: 328 Million. 70% infected is 230 Million. 6% fatality rate in the US (this based on current deaths/cases, but no one truly knows this number): 13.7 Million. We’re talking about 13.7 million Americans dead. The race to herd immunity isn’t the goal, a vaccine is.

      1. mary says:

        Artificial immunity is no where near ideal as natural immunity, that’s a fact. My grandmother contracted Guilonne Barre syndrome from a flu vaccine, was paralyzed and died shortly after. My son had severe grand mal seizures immediately following a hep b vaccine he received immediately after birth, almost died and we were fortunate that he wasn’t brain damaged (quote from ICU physician. However as a result he has life long respiratory and immune issues. In case you are unaware some people have mitochondria defects that make vaccines lethal to them. So vaccines are more deadly to some of us than the virus. BTW, these incidences were reported to VAERS but as you know, we were never compensated because big pharma is exempt from liability. So natural herd immunity is top priority to some of us and our need to have that natural immunity should not be ignored. Our lives matter too.

      2. too optimistic for this says:

        How does wearing masks truly help? Unless you have the N95, the cloth masks do not help unless someone literally coughs directly in your face. If we are social distancing as we are supposed to then we are doing what we can to stop the spread – the mask is not preventing anything at that point. This is why when this all started they told the general public NOT to wear masks.

  8. 911WASanINSIDEjob420 says:

    ‘new normal’ …boog is coming

    1. Norm says:

      I am afraid it is already here! Good luck to you and yours!

  9. Bob says:

    Whatever quick result tests we have should be disseminated to nursing homes. All have no visitation policies. The problem is the folks that work there unwittingly bring it in. All employees should be tested before starting every shift. Protect the vulnerable. Stop quarantining healthy people and weakening their immune system. Asking for an epic problem next fall/winter. This is insanity.

    1. Mary says:

      I agree, protect the vulnerable, for those healthy who want to continue their quarantine and want to wait for the vaccine let them do so, for those of us who are healthy and want to build herd immunity allow us to do that. That way we are covering all bases and everyone is free to do what is right for them as Americans we should be able to exercise our freedom of choice.

  10. Erin Regan says:

    Sooo…… when can I get my nails and hair done??? I look like Strewwelpeter

  11. nick says:

    because the mask isn’t to protect you from others. it’s to prevent you from unknowingly spreading the disease in the event you have it, but aren’t aware of it due to the symptoms not kicking it yet. refusing to wear a mask is basically saying “your health is less important than my comfort”

    at the start of the pandemic, they told people not to panic-buy masks if you were healthy because there was a shortage, and it was most important for medical workers to have them. but now the virus is spreading more among the population, and masks help prevent the spread, so they have recommended people wear them.

  12. Norm says:

    This was nothing more than paving the way to setting up a one world government, where cash is history, and they can implement a cashless society, where everything you buy, every place you go, is known, and dissenters are quietly shut off from the system! If you thought the last 2 months were painful, just wait! No Memorial Day, no 4th of July, you can move about like in a prison, when the guards say ok outside for a bit then back in your cell.

    1. nick says:

      ok boomer

    2. Caroline says:

      Your tin foil hat is too tight.

    3. JG says:

      Get a load of this crank

  13. Debbie says:

    This is so wrong It’s time to open up the state. If you go to lowes and home depot there are Wall to wall people. What is the point to keeping small businesses closed.Why are you picking and choosing what can be open. It’s looking more and more like all these Governors
    are playing politics

  14. Bob says:

    60% of deaths are in nursing homes. As of today, that means there have been 2,044 Deaths outside of long term facilities. If you aren’t in a nursing home, the chance of you dying is 0.0003%. We need to open up asap, with mitigation.The numbers have never matched the hysteria. The question that has no answer is, what will be the quality of your life given the economic collapse of a shutdown that lasts much longer? I’ll take my chances with opening up and doing all we can to protect the most vulnerable. For those that don’t want to risk it, stay in your home.

    1. Caroline says:

      Hysteria? I’ll bet your level of “hysteria” will be different when you lose someone in this awful way and while they are not the majority of deaths, there are younger people, health care workers, first responders and some children and parents of young children dying.

      1. JG says:

        “Hysteria? I’ll bet your level of ‘hysteria’ will be different when you lose someone to a meteorite strike and while they are not the majority of deaths, there are younger people, health care workers, first responders and some children and parents of young children dying.”

        The fact is that there will always be a minority of people who die to something. Oh no, someone died to food poisoning from sushi! Should we outlaw sushi? Of course not. The majority shouldn’t have to make sacrifices for a minority, especially one that’s already on their way out (elderly). If young people die, too bad. Putting yourself in a bubble because you constantly fear death is no way to live life. Putting everyone in their own bubble is even worse.

        Besides, let’s be honest, the boomer+ generations overall have a net negative effect on society.

  15. Brett says:

    I sort of think that Baker and his Advisers think that everyone is stupid and that we would cough on everything and not take protective measures in the stores and offices like supplying hand sanitizer to employs and customers.

  16. Steve says:

    Reopen, with no rules. Americans panic easily, they’ll take precautions. Besides, no matter how many die, no one gives a damn about death unless it takes out a relative.

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