BOSTON (CBS) – Gov. Charlie Baker is allowing some businesses in Massachusetts to reopen under a new plan revealed Monday that includes hair salons, barbershops, construction, manufacturing and places of worship.
The stay at home advisory now becomes a safer at home advisory. Masks are still required when you can’t maintain social distancing and visits to family and friends are again discouraged. Trips to nursing homes and pickup sports are still off limits. There was no announcement on any plans yet for the 2020-21 school year.
The governor said the state’s reopening after a two-month shutdown will occur in four phases: “start, cautious, vigilant” and “new normal.”
Phase one has two dates – May 18 and 25. There are no dates yet for the other phases, but Baker said each phase will last at least three weeks, but could last longer, based on public health data on coronavirus cases.
“If public health data trends are negative, specific industries, regions, and/or the entire Commonwealth may need to return to an earlier phase,” the reopening plan stated.
“This effort will hinge, fundamentally, on personal responsibility,” Baker said at a news conference Monday.
Here’s a breakdown of each phase:
• 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
“During Phase One, the emergency childcare system we’ve already in place will be utilized to meet the needs of people with no alternative for care. We’re also encouraging families to continue to find any alternatives to group care, to help stem the spread of the virus.” Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said at Monday’s news conference.
• 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 habilitation
• MBTA increases services, the Blue line goes to full service and ferries resume limited service
• Youth sports in limited fashion
• Campgrounds, playgrounds, spray decks, public and community pools all with guidelines
• On a phased basis, recreational day camps with restrictions
“We are aware that summer camps serve an important purpose, not only for our children, for our families. BPH is partnering with local boards of health to develop health guidelines to be implemented in over 1,400 camps across our state to enable a safe reopening of those activities,” Polito said.
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
Professional sports are “running through a different channel,” according to the governor.
“This guidance asks people to change behaviors, and it changes the way some of our favorite places look and feel,” Baker said Monday. “This is not permanent. At some point there will be treatments, and ultimately a vaccine. But for the foreseeable future everyone needs to continue to do the right things to bring the fight to the virus, so that we can continue to move forward.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in a statement he agreed with the governor’s plan and urged people to continue taking precautions to prevent spread of coronavirus.
“The framework released today can serve as a guide for a cautious, phased-in approach to reopening the economy, driven by clear public health criteria and safety guidelines that will keep our residents and workers healthy, and the Commonwealth moving in the right direction,” Walsh said in a statement.