MA Reopening: Phase 2 To Begin Monday, June 8

Jenna Fisher

CAMBRIDGE, MA —The start date for Massachusetts' phase 2 reopening, which will include services like indoor retail, outdoor dining and child care, will be Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker said Saturday.

The announcement came in the same day the number of people who tested positive for the coronavirus reached 103,132 on Saturday with a total of 7,289 deaths since March.

"So far we've made tremendous progress," said Baker Saturday. "Phase 2 is a bright spot."

Health screenings like mammograms, heart screenings and colonoscopies are also green lighted in this phase, and Baker urged people to schedule such screenings.

"We are clearly on the path to beat the virus," said Baker. "But until there are medical breakthroughs we have to continue to ... fight and play our part in fighting the virus. Covid-19 is still with us and is incredibly contagious and in some cases merciless."

But the key, said Baker, is that people continue to take distancing protocols and hygienic measures used throughout the pandemic, seriously to prevent set backs.

The hand-washing, the face-covering, the social distancing — have now become a way of life and need to continue, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said even as phase 2 begins June 8.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders said on June 10, hospitals may allow one visitor at a time per patient.

READ: Drive-In Movie Theater To Open In Hyannis

On June 1, Baker issued an order outlining details to allow for preparation for phase 2 of the Commonwealth's reopening plan.

Phase 2 will happen in two steps, according to Sec. Mike Kennealy. Step 1 starts Monday and will mean re-opening of retail stores previously considered non-essential, childcare, camps, hotels, youth sports and outdoor seated dining. Step 2 will include spas, tanning salons and indoor restaurant seating, but when step 2 will happen, depends on public health metrics, he said.

Businesses will have to create COVID-19 control plans, Kennealy said.

Baker also said Massachusetts is expanding the list of approved outdoor recreational activities for phase 2.

The phase 2 reopening is broader than phase 1. Retail stores, malls, outdoor dining, child care and other industries will be allowed to get back to business, all with varying levels of restrictions.
Below is a list of everything reopening in phase 2, according to Baker's executive order:

  • Retail stores, including stores enclosed in shopping malls
  • Restaurants providing seated food service prepared on-site and under retail food permits issued by municipal authorities, including beer gardens, wineries and distilleries meeting these criteria
  • Hotels, motels, inns and other short-term lodgings — no events, functions or meetings
  • Limited organized youth and adult amateur sports activities and programs — no contact and no games or scrimmages, and indoor facilities limited to youth programs
  • Professional sports practice and training programs — no inter-team games and no admission for the public
  • Personal services provided a fixed place of business or at a client location
    • Step 1: Services involving no close personal contact (photography, window washers, individual tutoring, home cleaning, etc.)
    • Step 2: Services involving close personal contact (massage, nail salons, personal training for individuals or no more than 2 persons from the same household, etc.)
  • Non-athletic instructional classes in arts, education and life skills for youths under 18 in groups of fewer than 10
  • Driving schools and flight schools
  • Outdoor historical space — no functions or gatherings and no guided tours
  • Funeral homes — increased capacity to permit 40 percent occupancy for one service at a time within the facility
  • Warehouses and distribution centers
  • Golf facilities, including outdoor driving ranges
  • Other outdoor recreational facilities
    • Pools, playgrounds and spray decks
    • Mini golf, go karts, batting cages, climbing walls and rope courses
  • Post-secondary, higher education, vocational-technical, trade and occupational schools
    • For the limited purposes of permitting students to complete a degree, program, or prerequisite for employment, or other similar requirement for completion; for summer youth programming including athletic facilities; and any necessary supporting services
  • Day camps, including sports and arts camps
  • Public libraries

Other signs of improvement are clear, Baker said. The positive test rate is down about 80 percent compared to mid-April, and hospitalizations were down to just over 1,600 statewide Friday. It's possible phase 2 could begin as soon as Monday.

Phase 3 could begin three weeks from Monday if coronavirus cases keep trending down. In that phase, facilities like gyms, movie theaters and museums could reopen.

One concern that health experts and the governor have expressed is the role the Black Lives Matter civil rights protests sweeping the state could play on the coronavirus. Massachusetts has seen dozens of large and small demonstrations since George Floyd died May 25 after a police officer kneeled on his neck for nearly 9 minutes.

The largest demonstrations have been in Boston, Worcester and Brockton — but smaller towns from Stoughton to Brookline have also participated. It can take up to 14 days for someone to develop coronavirus symptoms, according to health officials.

Watch Baker's update here:

This article originally appeared on the Boston Patch