Baker announces 4-phase approach to reopening Massachusetts: What you need to know

BOSTON — The reopening phases will start with a small number of industries to reopen with restrictions and then slowly allow additional businesses to reopen with fewer and fewer restrictions until we reach the final phase.

Those steps are outlined below:

  • Phase 1 - Start: Limited industries resume operations with severe restrictions
  • Phase 2 - Cautious: Additional industries resume operations with restrictions and capacity limits
  • Phase 3 - Vigilant: Additional industries resume operations with guidance
  • Phase 4 - New Normal: Development of vaccine and/or therapy enables resumption of ‘new normal’

The state stipulated that public health metrics will determine when the first phase of reopening begins, as well as when it is safe to move into later phases. And if public health metrics worsen, the state may need to return to an earlier phase.

Gov. Baker said flexibility is key.

“We have to be flexible and honest that the timing and the details of these phases could change depending on the track the virus takes as we go forward,” Baker said Monday. “If public health metrics indicate that a particular sector or industry is unexpectedly susceptible to spread, then that specific industry’s reopening may be delayed to a later date.”

Baker says he’s hopeful to begin Phase One of reopening the state next Monday, May 18. That’s when the Reopening Advisory Board will also release more details on which businesses fall under each phase.

“These last couple months have obviously been painful and difficult and frustrating for us all,” said Gov. Baker. “But we are seeing positive signs that the work everybody has done has been paying off and that makes it possible for us to be serious about a phased reopening.”

Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces

Baker released safety standards for workplaces in regards to:

Social Distancing:

  • All persons, including employees, customers, and vendors should remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside workplaces
  • Establish protocols to ensure that employees can practice adequate social distancing
  • Provide signage for safe social distancing
  • Require face coverings or masks for all employees

Hygiene Protocols:

  • Provide hand washing capabilities throughout the workplace
  • Ensure frequent handwashing by employees and adequate supplies to do so
  • Provide regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site

Staffing and Operations:

  • Provide training for employees regarding the social distancing and hygiene protocols
  • Employees who are displaying COVID19-like symptoms do not report to work
  • Establish a plan for employees getting ill from COVID-19 at work, and a return-to-work plan

Cleaning and Disinfecting:

  • Establish and maintain cleaning protocols specific to the business
  • When an active employee is diagnosed with COVID19, cleaning and disinfecting must be performed
  • Disinfection of all common surfaces must take place at intervals appropriate to said workplace

Watch the full news conference here:

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