Gov. Charlie Baker Monday announced the Massachusetts economy would open in four phases, beginning May 18, although he declined to name which types of industry would be allowed to open and when.
The reopening phases have been categorized as: Phase 1, Start, with businesses that are more “naturally set up” for little close contact permitted to open with restrictions and strict safety protocols. Phase 2, Cautious will include opening industries with more face-to-face interactions, also subject to restrictions. Phase 3 Vigilant will further loosen restrictions, depending on COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations as any spike in cases hospitalizations, indicators of the spread of the virus, would scale back businesses reopening. The final phase is called The New Normal. All the phases will mandate that businesses follow health and safety protocols developed by the reopening board.
Non-essential businesses have been closed since March 23.
Baker was encouraged by the continued downturn of positive cases in the recent round of testing, holding at 9 percent, and the continued decrease of COVID-19 hospitalizations.
Massachusetts remains one of the hardest hit states of the COVID-19 pandemic in the country, Baker said.
“And we still have work to do to contain the infection rate, reduce the number of people who need serious hospital care, and make sure our health care system is prepared to operate in a COVID world, and do all the other things that it does on behalf of the people of Massachusetts.”
The commonwealth will provide industry-specific reopening information soon, he said.
In addition, the reopening board, led by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, has devised health and safety guidelines that every industry will be expected to follow in order to reopen, including social distancing guidelines and the wearing of face coverings by employees in the workplace. Businesses will have to adhere to sanitation and cleanliness protocols.
More updates will be posted at mass.gov