Massachusetts business owners remain in limbo on reopening plans

BOSTON — Business owners across the state of Massachusetts remain in limbo following Monday’s announcement on reopening the economy in four phases.

The four phases, “Start, Cautious, Vigilant and The New Normal,” are set to begin around May 18. Gov. Charlie Baker did not speculate on a timeline for specific industries, and he did not say how long each phase could potentially last. It’s also unclear what requirements could be in place for certain businesses once they get the green light to reopen.

“I don’t think retail stores are going to be in phase one considering we haven’t received any information yet, and the 18th is slowly creeping up,” said Philip Saul, owner of Sault New England.

Sault New England has retail stores in Boston’s South End and Portsmouth, New Hampshire.

Saul has been juggling through the uncertain guidelines coming from two different states.

“There’s a lot of gray area, and there’s no specific answers,” said Saul. “I’m trying to get information in New Hampshire, and unfortunately, they don’t give us specifics either.”

Saul is planning on reopening his New Hampshire location on Thursday.

He’s been running through every possible precaution he can think of, including installing a protective shield in front of the register and marking distances of six feet on the floor.

“It’s something we have to try to figure out. It’s been really challenging,” explained Saul. “I’ve had to dip into personal savings. The bills are due, and the bills aren’t going to go away.”

It’s still unclear when customers will be allowed to walk into Saul’s South End location.

That uncertainty is looming over many Massachusetts businesses with patience running thin.

“There’s no clear and concise answers. That’s what we expect from the governor,” said Allah Mathematics, owner of Everything Is Real Hair Care Center in Roxbury.

Allah Mathematics told Boston 25 News he is becoming increasingly anxious about the lack of a definitive reopening date for barber shops and hair salons.

“Everyone has to go to the barber shop, and for eight weeks to be out of work with no economic relief.. that’s preposterous,” said Mathematics. “A lot of people aren’t going to make it after this.”

While Baker has mentioned May 18 as a date for starting the reopening process, he has repeatedly emphasized a cautious approach.

Baker said information will be released in the coming days about which industries can resume in the first phase.

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