Massachusetts began allowing businesses in the state to reopen on May 18, with more easing of restrictions planned for next week.
Republican Gov. Charlie Baker announced the initial easing of those restrictions at a press conference. On March 23, he had set a stay-at-home order designed to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, which causes the disease COVID-19.
Houses of worship can welcome people inside but are encouraged to hold outdoor services, while construction and manufacturing companies that hadn’t been deemed essential can resume operations.
“Today, we lay out a roadmap to reopening Massachusetts while we continue to fight COVID-19,” the governor said.
“These two will be inseparable,” he said, referring to people getting back to work and fighting COVID-19, until there is a medical breakthrough with proven treatments against the disease or a vaccine is approved.
Starting May 25, laboratory and life science facilities can reopen, along with office space outside of Boston. Hair salons, barbershops, and pet grooming businesses can reopen then by appointment, while car washes can offer exterior washing only. Retailers can resume operations with curbside pickup.
Offices may reopen in Boston on June 1.
Gatherings of more than 10 people are still banned and high-risk residents are told to work from home if possible. People entering the state are asked to self-quarantine for 14 days and lodging is restricted to essential workers only.
Beaches, parks, drive-in theaters, some athletic fields and courts, most outdoor adventure activities, fishing, hunting, and boating, outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves, and public installations can reopen or resume operations on May 25.
Baker’s plan relied on a reopening advisory committee. Members reached out to business owners, health professionals, and others to craft the plan, which has four phases that will last at least three weeks each.
Phase two, which doesn’t have a set date, will include allowing retailers, restaurants, and lodging facilities to welcome customers inside, with restrictions. Additional personal services like day spas and nail salons will be allowed to reopen.
Phase three will include the reopening of bars for tableside service, and arts and entertainment venues including casinos, gyms, and museums.
Everyone in the state is required to wear a face covering or mask if they can’t maintain six feet from people they don’t live with. People are encouraged to wash their hands frequently, socially distance, be vigilant for symptoms, and stay home if they feel sick.
“How well everyone does these things will determine how well we move into later phases,” Baker said.