On May 18, Governor Baker outlined the details of the four-phase plan for re-opening the Massachusetts economy, with each phase scheduled to last a minimum of three weeks. Transition from one stage to another is dependent on public health data. Information below is directly from the Commonwealth’s Reopening Massachusetts website.
Before reopening, all businesses must follow a self-certification process demonstrating they can meet industry-specific requirements and universal mandatory safety standards. Enforcement is at the local level. Businesses currently operating to provide essential services have until May 25 to comply. The self-certification process includes:
- COVID-19 Control Plan Template– Businesses may complete a template to fulfill this requirement. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval but must be retained on the premises of the business and be provided in the event of an inspection.
- Compliance Attestation Poster– Businesses are required to sign a poster attesting they have completed a COVID-19 control plan, and post it in an area within the business premises that is visible to employees and visitors
- Other Posters– Businesses are required to post employer and employee signs describing the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, cleaning, and disinfecting.
The Baker Administration will provide guidance that each sector, industry, and business must follow including:
- Social guidance: Guidance all individuals must follow to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 transmission. This includes: cover your face, wash your hands, socially distance, be vigilant for symptoms and stay home if you feel sick.
- Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards: New standards for all workplaces that are designed to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers. The state is providing a portal to buy PPE.
- Sector-Specific Protocols and Best Practices: Additional safety standards and recommended best practices to reduce the risk of new COVID-19 transmission in specific industries.
Business Reopening Schedule by Phase
PHASE 1: “Start”
Sectors Eligible to Reopen on May 18
- Essential Businesses
- Construction and Manufacturing are subject to a list of requirements for the management of their workforces and physical spaces. The requirements focus on maximizing social distancing between crew members, sanitation, and staffing and operations practices.
- Places of Worship are eligible to reopen May 18, 2020 and must meet specific mandatory safety standards. These include a maximum occupancy of 40 percent, social distancing measures for worshipers who are not from the same household, and mandatory face masks or coverings for everyone inside. They may not host communal gatherings or open childcare services.
- Hospitals and Community Health Centers can provide, upon attestation, high priority preventative care, pediatric care, and treatment for high risk patients and conditions.
Sectors Eligible to Reopen on May 25
- Lab space
- Office space (except Boston)
- Limited Personal Services (e.g., hair salons, pet grooming, and car washes)
- Retail (remote fulfillment, curbside pick-up)
Sectors Eligible to Reopen on June 1
PHASE 2: “Cautious”
Sectors eligible to reopen with restrictions and some capacity limitations:
- Additional Personal Services (e.g., nail salons and day spas)
PHASE 3: “Vigilant”
Sectors eligible to reopen with restrictions and some capacity limitations
- Arts & Entertainment (e.g., casinos, fitness/gyms, museums)
- All other business activities resume except nightclubs and large venues
PHASE 4: “New Normal”
- Full resumption of activity (e.g., large venues and night clubs)
Public Health Data
Reopening will be driven by public health data. Starting May 18, the state will provide updates on six key public health indicators which must continue to show progress during each reopening phase.
- COVID-19 positive test rate
- Number of individuals who died from COVID-19
- Number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals
- Health care system readiness
- Testing capacity
- Contact tracing capabilities
Updated: May 18, 2020