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On Monday, May 18, 2020, Governor Charles D. Baker announced the Reopening Massachusetts Plan as a road map to reopening the Commonwealth in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The guide outlines a four-phased approach to reopening industry while maintaining certain public health standards to ensure that there are no additional surges of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth. This post is intended to serve as a summary of that plan and provide resources for businesses and residents to learn more about the plan.

  1. Safer at Home Advisory- In light of positive trends in terms of cases of COVID-19, hospitalization rates, and ICU capacity, the Governor has rescinded his “Stay at Home Advisory” and replaced it with a “Safer at Home Advisory”. This advisory urges residents aged 65+ and residents who are at high risk for COVID-19 complications to continue to stay at home except to conduct essential business like to obtain groceries, visit the pharmacy, and to seek medical attention. All other residents are advised to stay home except to grocery shop, visit the pharmacy, work at an essential business or business opening during Phase I, to conduct business with an essential business or business opening in Phase I, and to participating in outdoor recreation. Residents are required to wear a face covering when maintaining a safe social distance of at least 6 feet is not possible, and should continue to practice proper hand washing and regularly sanitize commonly touched surfaces. Finally, residents are urged to remain vigilant, monitor for symptoms, and stay home if sick.
  2. Four Phases: The four phases of reopening the Commonwealth are outlined below. Each phase will last at least three weeks and could last longer depending on public health data and trends. Notably, if public health data shows a negative trend in terms of number of positive cases, hospitalization rates, and ICU capacity, we may return to a previous phase.
    • Phase 1- Start– Limited industries resume operations with severe restrictions
    • Phase 2- Cautious- Additional industries allowed to open with restrictions and capacity limits
    • Phase 3- Vigilant– Additional industries resume operations with guidance from public health officials
    • Phase 4- New Normal- Development of a vaccine and or treatment enable resumption of “new normal”
  3. Who Opens When? Based on the report, the following industries can expect to open during the first three different phases. This is not a comprehensive list and does not include the restrictions that will be in place for industry during the four phases. Businesses should visit www.mass.gov/reopening to learn more about industry specific standards.
    1. Phase I
      1. May 18th- Places of Worship, Construction & Manufacturing Industries resume operations
      2. May 25th:
        • lab space
        • office space (except Boston)
        • Limited Personal Services (i.e.- Hair salons by appointment only, pet grooming, car washes)
        • Retail Establishments offering curbside pickup & remote fulfillment
        • Beaches
        • Parks
        • Drive-in Theaters
        • Some athletic fields
      3. June 1- Office spaces in Boston (with additional guidance and restrictions)
    2. Phase II
      • Retail Establishments
      • Restaurants
      • Lodging
      • Additional Personal Services (nail spas & day spas)
      • Campgrounds
      • Public & Community Pools
      • Youth Sports (in a limited fashion)
    3. Phase III
      • Bars
      • Casinos
      • Fitness Centers & Gyms
      • Museums
      • other industries except nightclubs & large venues
      • Youth sports with games and tournaments
  4. Regulations for Opening– This plan outlines a series of rules that businesses must follow prior to opening in their respective phase. Please note that the following rules & regulations also apply to essential businesses who have continued operating during the state of emergency. Those businesses must be in compliance by May 25th. All other businesses must be in compliance by the time they open during the applicable phase.
    1. Develop & Adopt a COVID-19 Control Plan
      1. These are to be developed following standard requirements for businesses & the industry specific standards outlined in the corresponding Sector Circular and Sector Checklist published by the Commonwealth at www.mass.gov/reopening.
      2. These do not have to be submitted, but must be available on the premises in the event of an inspection by local or state officials.
    2. Display a “Compliance Attestation” poster. Also available for download at www.mass.gov/reopening, these posters must be displayed prominently on site to confirm that the business has developed a thorough and compliant COVID-19 Control Plan.
    3. Additional Signage- Businesses are required to ensure that employees are wearing face coverings, that commonly touched surfaces are being sanitized regularly, and that their operations are developed in a manner that allows for proper social distancing. Signs to that effect are available on the reopening website and should be displayed for employees and customers to see.

Prior to opening in the appropriate stage, it is critical that businesses visit the Massachusetts Reopening website to fully review the reopening plan, industry specific regulations & checklists, general guidelines for businesses, and to identify resources available to help businesses operate in a safe manner. For example, the Commonwealth has established a purchasing portal to connect businesses with vendors of PPE to ensure that employees are safe and protected on the job.

We also recommend that you continue to monitor the Town’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by visiting www.tyngsboroughma.gov and selecting the COVID-19 banner on the top of the page. The Tyngsborough Emergency Preparedness Committee continues to monitor public health guidance and will make an announcement about the status of public buildings in the near future.