Massachusetts Governor: State Can Begin Reopening Process Monday

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) on Monday introduced a four-phase approach to reopening, announcing that the Bay State can begin moving into the first phase immediately.

“Starting today, based on current public health data and trends, Massachusetts will begin Phase 1 of a cautious reopening, and workplaces that are permitted to open are required to follow new safety protocols and guidance,” a release announcing the decision reads:

Today, we’re releasing “Reopening Massachusetts,” the report of our Reopening Advisory Board.

The report details a four-phased strategy to responsibly reopen businesses and activities while continuing to fight #COVID19MA

⏩More about reopening:

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) May 18, 2020

The plan, titled “Reopening Massachusetts,” details a four-phase approach to reopening the state. Massachusetts can begin entering the first phase today, allowing manufacturing facilities and construction sites to reopen with “applicable guidelines.”

Places of worship will also be allowed to open “with guidelines that require social distancing and encourage services to be held outdoors,” according to the plan.

Additionally, hospitals and community health centers “that attest to specific public health and safety standards can begin to provide high priority preventative care, pediatric care and treatment for high risk patients.”

More businesses will be able to operate in Phase 1 beginning Monday, May 25, including office and lab spaces. Personal services will remain limited, with hair salons, car washes, and pet grooming facilities adhering to strict guidelines and operating by appointment only.

Beaches, parks, drive-in theaters, zoos, “select athletic fields and courts,” and outdoor gardens will also be allowed to reopen on May 25 as well, with certain restrictions in place.

The following phase will focus on reopening retail stores and restaurants with limited capacities, and Phase 3 will incorporate gyms and bars. The final phase will address larger venues and nightclubs, per the guidance.

Baker’s administration estimates that each phase will last “a minimum of three weeks and could last longer before moving to the next phase.”

“If public health data trends are negative, specific industries, regions, and/or the entire Commonwealth may need to return to an earlier phase,” the state’s website adds.

The administration also announced an updated “Safer At Home” Advisory, instructing vulnerable individuals to remain at home except for essential errands, urging residents to leave home “only for healthcare, worship and permitted work, shopping, and outdoor activities,” and requiring everyone to wear a mask in public spaces where social distancing is not feasible:

@MassDPH is also releasing a new “Safer At Home” Advisory, which instructs residents to stay at home unless engaging with newly opened activities, as a way to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19.

🏡Read that advisory here:

— Charlie Baker (@MassGovernor) May 18, 2020

The Bay State reported 86,010 confirmed cases of the virus and 5,797 related deaths as of Monday afternoon.

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