REOPENING MASSACHUSETTS—PHASE 1
May 18, 2020
In brief, you can:
· continue using any essential service that is open, i.e. food markets (including delivery), restaurants doing takeout or delivery, pharmacies, liquor stores, banks, parks, golf courses, etc.
· go to church, starting today, May 18
· go to a hospital or community health center (starting today, May 18) or other health care providers (starting May 25) for pediatric care, preventive care, treatment of high-risk patients or conditions, and urgent procedures that cannot be deferred or delivered remotely
· have construction work done starting today, May 18
· buy a gun or ammunition, or visit a shooting range, starting today, May 18
· get a haircut (appointments only) starting May 25
· get pet grooming (appointments only) starting May 25
· get your car washed (outside only) starting May 25
· do curbside-pickup retail shopping/fulfillment (including recreational cannabis) starting May 25
· visit many business offices outside Boston starting May 25 (June 1 in Boston) (both subject to occupancy limits)
· subject to certain limitations, do many outdoor activities starting May 25, i.e. go the beach; go fishing, hunting, boating, ziplining or mountain biking; use facilities and services at parks; go to outdoor gardens and zoos
Of course, these are permissions only. Check out—by phone or its website--where you specifically may want to go, to understand when it may open, its planned hours, occupancy limits, queuing requirements, parking/curbside availability, availability of/purchase limits on desired stock, payment methods, etc.
Governor Baker has just announced the state’s framework for gradually reopening the Massachusetts economy while still combatting the COVID-19 virus. It’s a plan in four phases. The emphasis is going slow and having ample justifying data to proceed from one phase to the next. This data will be concern projected availability of critical MA medical care facilities and results from substantially ramped up testing and contact tracing.
Each of the four phases of reopening is expected to last three weeks at least; each or every phase could be longer; and if public health data so indicate, certain areas, or sectors, or even the whole Commonwealth, could return to a previous phase. Many items are deferred in the plan, so this BHV advisory will focus mainly on Phase 1, which begins today, Monday, May 18, 2020 and will continue over the next several weeks. BHV will keep you informed about further phases of reopening as their details are announced, or about other important changes in the Massachusetts reopening process.
All individual guidance remains the same: wash your hands frequently; socially distance with a 6’diameter whenever possible; you must use a mask when appropriate social distancing is not possible; be alert for COVID-19 symptoms; and stay home if you feel sick. Gatherings in confined indoor and outdoor spaces may not exceed 10 persons. Limit play-dates with grandchildren. Avoid contact sports. Any guests you have from outside Massachusetts are urged to self-quarantine for 14 days. In particular, people 65 and over or with underlying health conditions are still encouraged to stay at home except to shop for food or to attend to healthcare needs. T service during Phase 1 will continue on the reduced schedules in effect now under the state’s COVID-19 emergency.
All businesses continuing or resuming operations must certify their compliance with new general mandatory workplace safety standards and observe sector-specific protocols and best practices. Some of these business requirements have been developed already, others will be issued in time for the phase in which a given type of business will be allowed to reopen.
 Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Reopening Massachusetts, May 18, 2020, https://www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts-may-18-2020/download.
 Nonetheless it is restated in a new advisory, also issued today, May 18, 2020: Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Safer-at-Home Advisory, https://www.mass.gov/news/safer-at-home-advisory. This advisory has a number of links to detailed COVID-19 public health topics.