On Monday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker outlined a four-phase plan for the state to reopen.
The state has been closed for the past two months amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Baker’s plan helps to reopen the state’s economy in different phases, which he named, start, cautious, vigilant, and new normal.
According to the governor’s office, phase one of Massachusetts’ reopening will begin on May 18 with a “staggered start,” approach. On that day, some construction and manufacturing companies will be permitted to reopen under some capacity limitations. Areas of religious worship will also be permitted to reopen on May 18, with outdoor services encouraged.
With the “staggered start” approach, the second stage of phase one will begin on May 25, with laboratories, offices, hair salons, pet grooming, beaches, parks, and car washes allowed to reopen. Some retail businesses will also be permitted to reopen, with all required to follow capacity limits and social distancing guidelines. On June 1, offices in Boston, Massachusetts will be allowed to reopen as well.
Baker’s plan did not outline a specific date for the following phases but noted that each phase will last a minimum of three weeks so phase two could begin no earlier than June 8 if everything goes well in phase one.
According to the governor’s orders, phase two will allow more retail businesses and restaurants to reopen in the state, following similar guidelines from phase one. Additional personal services, such as nail salons and day spas, will also be permitted to reopen during phase two.
Campgrounds, playgrounds, public and community pools, and all athletic fields will also be permitted to reopen during phase two.
Similar to phase two, phases three and four do not have specific start dates but they are expected to begin three weeks after the start date of the previous phase.
Phase three will allow bars, casinos, fitness centers, gyms and museums to reopen, following capacity and social distancing guidelines. Additional activities and services, such as youth sports with tournaments and games, will also be permitted to reopen during phase three.
Across phases two and three, hospitals and medical centers will be allowed to perform less urgent preventative services, such as routine dental cleanings and some elective procedures.
Phase four, which Baker named “new normal,” will allow full resumption of activity across places of worship, businesses and outdoor activities. Large venues and nightclubs will also be allowed to reopen during phase four. Social distancing guidelines will still be in place during phase four.
Massachusetts has remained one of the states hit hardest by the novel coronavirus, which causes the respiratory disease COVID-19. According to a tracker provided by Johns Hopkins University, there are currently over 86,000 cases in the state, and at least 5,797 deaths.