BOSTON (CBS) – Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said businesses who fall in Phase 1 of the state’s coronavirus reopening plan won’t know in advance of the announcement, adding they should study up on global safety standards to prepare in the meantime.

The governor also declined to say if his stay-at-home advisory will expire on May 18.

Baker made the remarks during his daily press briefing, saying that while he understands companies are eager to get back to work, doing so safely is critical.

“I get the fact that everybody would like everything to be open sooner,” said Baker. “The downside to that – and it’s an important downside – is, you want to do this in a way where you can sustain the opening.”

On Monday, Baker announced the state will begin to reopen with a 4-phased plan, though he did not offer specifics about what industries would be allowed to begin operating in Phase 1. Baker was asked Tuesday when people will know they qualify for Phase 1, the governor said “I think it would probably be on (May) 18.”

“The folks that are most likely to be able to operate successfully on the 18th are going to be many of the folks that are currently operating,” said Baker. “They’re essential businesses, but they are going to have to operate under the statewide guidelines and the industry specific guidelines that will be issued as part of issuing the report on the 18th.”

Baker said the second group will be people who work in ways that do not have a lot of face-to-face interaction with customers.

“And then as you move into the second and third phases, or intermediate steps along the way, we’ll start to bring the folks who have direct face-to-face contact with customers in, and make sure we do it in a way that gives them the time that they need to actually create the infrastructure that’s necessary to preserve and protect their employees and their customers,” said Baker.

For the time being, Baker said businesses can prepare themselves by looking at global safety standards to see how they think they perform against those.

“Part of the reason we put those out was to make clear that there’s going to be a standard that everybody has to abide by and comply to,” said Baker.

The governor was asked if the state’s stay-at-home advisory will expire on Monday as scheduled.

“I think all of those various issues that people have questions about, we’re going to talk about all of those on Monday,” said Baker.

Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce President Jim Rooney said businesses want more details. “So the more clarity that we can have for the types of businesses that are in each phase, what the restrictions or guidance are to go with each phase, then businesses can begin to plan,” Rooney said.

The Chamber is recommending a seven to 10 heads up for businesses to begin to reopen.

Comments (17)
  1. Maryanne says:

    Is he serious? Talk about them on Monday??

  2. Kenneth Ethier says:

    He is an idiot

  3. tcg says:

    Arrogant! These “business’s” employ people, who support families! I voted for the idiot x2! what a waste! The COC gets what they deserve for rolling over!

  4. mfbissett says:

    “The folks that are most likely to be able to operate successfully on the 18th are going to be many of the folks that are currently operating,” This makes no sense. So, only business already operating will be able to operate???

  5. KB says:

    Baker is doing a terrible job – vote him out!

  6. JR says:

    I’m grateful that he is being cautious about all of this. There are so many unknowns and the worst thing we could do would be to extend all of this by moving too quickly to get back to normal and undoing our progress with the virus. We all want to get back to normal but we need to do it safely, and it’s very hard to know what that ACTUALLY means. Those in leadership who are trying to make the call have a very tough balancing act to do, and the responsible ones don’t have the luxury of feigning certainty to appease people’s frustrations.

  7. John says:

    JR must be on Baker’s staff

    1. tcg says:

      Probably one of the people on the 17 person panel setup to deflect responsibility! That said my empathy for these business’s is gone. If they don’t start speaking up for themselves then they deserve what they get. Go to court, go to the streets, but wallow in petty, you deserve to go under.

  8. Sonja M Brewer says:

    I have had a broken tooth for 5 weeks. My appointment has been rescheduled twice. I really need this tooth to be saved. Will my dental office be open? Will any dental office be open? How do you define an emergency? I do not have a broken leg but I depend on this side of my mouth for chewing. I hope you can enjoy a bagel or a hamburger or granola. I can’t. Happy to wait my turn but unhappy with not knowing where I am in the line ahead of me. Sonja

    1. tcg says:

      My dentist is open for “emergency” services, try someone else?

  9. Tam Tran says:

    Please re-open Massachusetts, we have done enough quarantine; we need to live our life as normal not in home prison anymore. That’s not fair and unhealthy

  10. George says:

    I fail to see how Baker feels not telling anyone who might be allowed to open is acting responsibly. If there is a 4 phase plan, and phase 1 is scheduled to start on Monday, then we should know before Monday what phase 1 is. I can only assume he has no intention of actually starting phase 1 on Monday because no leader would just spring something like this on people and say go! Just as he feels he needs to plan, so do the business. I guess he feels only the state should have the ability to plan. I am not saying when he should open things mind you, just saying that if he does care about planning and doing things right, he should let businesses do the same thing, not spring the who what where when and how at the last minute. That is not a planned release of his plan, that is showing he has no plan at all.

  11. I understand the frustration…we all have so many questions and the not knowing seriously sucks. Maybe the positive way to look at it is that you can still plan. All businesses that are currently closed really should have a re-opening plan in place already that they can start to execute on when given the green light. Monday is simply the green light for whatever businesses Baker communicates. True, most businesses will not be able to immediately open doors on Monday, but I don’t think that’s the intent. Curious – those of you out there that own small businesses…do you feel “ready to go” when the gun goes off or is this really messing with stuff?

  12. Michael says:

    I agree with Clementine 2092. All business owners should be developing plans for re-opening, recognizing that a return to the way business operated prior to the public health emergency is an unrealistic expectation. Reopening a business will now take real leadership, which means planning ahead, not just “winging it,” in response to any planned announcement. That leadership also will require greater attention (read: increased overhead costs and reduced productivity) to employee health, workplace environment, and contingency planning. I own a small business that traditionally has been entirely face-to-face, undertaken in private offices. While much of the work has been shifted to videoconferences, most employees want to return immediately to the “old way.” Many will be unhappy when I insist that this be reviewed with an eye towards public and employee safety, rather than employee or consumer preference. Insisting on an immediate return to the traditional approach to business is genuinely reckless and arrogant, reveals ignorance of the realities of contagion, and shows a self-centered disregard for the well-being of employees and the public. Living our lives “as normal,” before a safe and effective vaccine is developed, will only result in increased death and suffering for thousands of individuals and families within the Commonwealth. Will you be able to look your spouse, your parents, and your children in the eye when you have brought home the virus that killed someone they love, all because you insisted that you be allowed to earn your income in the way that you prefer?

  13. George says:

    I am certain all business owners are developing a plan to reopen, and I am sure they are communicating with their employees what that plan is so when the time comes they are ready. It is being made more difficult then it needs to by the lack of communication from the state government though. The actual restrictions will be released on the day some businesses are allowed to open. Will what I have in place work, probably, but I don’t know that for a fact. Should my employees be prepared to return to work Monday or not? I am not saying things shouldn’t be taken at a pace determined by the state, I am saying the state needs to communicate better to help facilitate a clean and safe reopening of the state. Withholding information until the last moment isn’t doing that.

  14. Debbie says:

    I think Governor Baker should probably have just said that May 18th will be the day that he tells us what his plans to reopen Massachusetts are…. not necessarily that May 18th was the day for everything to reopen. I’m sure he wanted to give himself the chance to get all the latest updates on deaths, new cases, hospitalizations and so on. Give him a little credit. He’s trying to keep all of Massachusetts safe! I’m not even a republican and I really think he is doing a great job!

  15. P. MAYLOR says:


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