On May 18, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced, a 4-Phase reopening process for Massachusetts businesses, both essential and non-essential.
All Massachusetts businesses have to observe “Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards for reopening.” These consist of the following:
- Social Distancing: including employees, customers and vendors;
- Hygiene Protocols: including handwashing at work and sanitizing of “high touch” areas throughout the workplace;
- Staffing and Operations: provide training for employee regarding social distancing, and requiring employees with Covid symptoms to remain at home;
- Cleaning and Disinfecting: establish and maintain comprehensive cleaning protocols.
As of May 18, Essential Businesses can stay open and operational, but must self-certify compliance with mandatory safety standards by May 25.
As of May 18, other businesses that are permitted to reopen include Manufacturing, Construction, Houses of Worship, and hospitals and community health centers.
On May 25, the following businesses may reopen:
- Lab and Life Sciences facilities;
- Offices, but work from home is still strongly advised. Businesses should restrict workforce presence to under 25% of maximum capacity for now;
- Hair Salons/Barber Shops by appointment only;
- Pet Grooming Facilities by appointment only, with curbside drop off and pick-up;
- Car Washes;
- Recreation and Outdoor facilities, including beaches, parks, drive-in theatres, and zoos;
- Other Healthcare Providers providing “high priority preventive care, pediatric care, and treatment for high risk patients;
- Retail: for remote fulfillment and curbside pick-up.
As of June 1, 2020, offices in the city of Boston may open if they follow applicable guidelines.
Phase 1 reopening requires Self-Certification for Businesses. The state website provides several comprehensive templates for control plans, compliance attestation, and other posters for the workplace.
The Commonwealth intends to partner with industries to draft “Sector-Specific Protocols” in advance of future Phases being implemented.
With restrictions and some capacity limitations, the following businesses will be permitted to reopen: Retail, Restaurants (with conditions yet to be announced), Lodging, Nail Salons, Day Spas, and Recreation and Outdoor facilities (campgrounds, playgrounds, public pools, athletic fields).
During this phase, Bars, Casinos, Fitness Centers and Gyms, and Museums may open. In addition, all other business activities may resume during this Phase except for nightclubs and large venues.
This Phase presumes full resumption of activities under the new normal” safety mandates.
Governor has made it clear that reaching additional Phases will depend upon how well the implementation of Phase 1 goes in light of the various restrictions and mandates for operation. If, in fact, the COVID-19 situation does not improve prior to the implementation of additional phases, those phases may well be delayed.