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"Any time there's big gatherings with close quarters the potential for spread is real," Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday, calling it a "balancing act" between public health and First Amendment rights. [Photo: Sam Doran/SHNS]

Reopening Massachusetts: Baker initiates transition to second phase on Monday


The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that Phase II of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin on June 8th.

Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in Phase II are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards.

On May 18, the Administration released a four-phased plan to reopen the economy based on public health data, spending at least three weeks in each phase. Key public health data, such as new cases and hospitalizations, has been closely monitored and seen a significant decline allowing for Phase II to begin on June 8th.

The public health dashboard designating the progress of key COVID-19 data metrics has been updated to reflect the number of COVID-19 patients in Massachusetts hospitals to green, indicating a positive trend.

Since mid-April, the 7-day average for the positive COVID-19 test rate is down 82 percent, the 3-day average of hospitalized patients is down 55 percent, and the number of hospitals in surge is down 76 percent.

A total of 630,000 viral COVID-19 tests have been completed, and testing continues to increase throughout the state.

The following businesses will be eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase II on June 8, with contingencies:

– Retail, with occupancy limits;
– Childcare facilities and day camps, with detailed guidance;
– Restaurants, outdoor table service only;
– Hotels and other lodgings, no events, functions or meetings;
– Warehouses and distribution centers;
– Personal services without close physical contact, such as home cleaning, photography, window washing, career coaching and education tutoring;
– Post-secondary, higher education, vocational-tech and occupation schools for the purpose of completing graduation requirements;
– Youth and adult amateur sports, with detailed guidance;
– Outdoor recreation facilities
– Professional sports practices, no games or public admissions;
– Non-athletic youth instructional classes in arts, education or life skills and in groups of less than 10;
– Driving and flight schools
– Outdoor historical spaces, no functions, gatherings or guided tours;
– Funeral homes, with occupancy limits

The following businesses will be eligible reopen in Step Two of Phase II at a later date to be determined:

– Indoor table service at restaurants
– Close-contact personal services, with restrictions, including:
– Hair removal and replacement
– Nail care
– Skin care
– Massage therapy
– Makeup salons and makeup application services
– Tanning salons
– Tattoo, piercing and body art services
– Personal training, with restrictions

Full list and safety protocols available at www.mass.gov/reopening.

The Baker-Polito Administration also released other sector specific guidance:

Health care providers may also incrementally resume in-person elective, non-urgent procedures and services, including routine office visits, dental visits and vision care subject to compliance with public health and safety standards. All other in-person medical, behavioral health, dental and vision services may also resume on June 8th, except for elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs, which will be included in Phase III. Telehealth must continue to be utilized and prioritized to the greatest extent possible, whenever feasible and appropriate.

Limited reopening of visitation will also begin, and all visitation is subject to infection control protocol, social distancing and face coverings. Given the diversity of facilities and programs, there are specific timetables for visitation, and congregate care programs will be reaching out to families with specific details on scheduling visits.

About Michael Silvia

Served 20 years in the United States Air Force. Owner of New Bedford Guide.

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