By: Karen Piso Nadeau, Esquire and Leslie S. Harkavy, Esquire
The Massachusetts Stay At Home Advisory has been downgraded to a ‘Safer At Home’ Advisory. While still encouraging residents to stay at home as much as possible, and to encourage businesses to continue to allow employees to work remotely, the reopening will be implemented in four phases. Each phase will last for at least three weeks and be determined by progress in driving down the number of new cases and hospitalizations, increasing testing capacity and other health metrics.
The Safer at Home Advisory will allow for a few industries to return with a number of restrictions in place. These restrictions include continued social distancing and wearing of face coverings in public – when a six-foot distancing from others cannot be maintained, as well as continuing to practice good hygiene and cleaning protocols. People over the age of 65 or those with underlying health conditions are urged to continue to stay at home except for going to the grocery store, doctor and pharmacy. Gatherings are still limited to 10 people, and hotels and other lodging will remain restricted to essential workers only for now. Enforcement will be by the Department of Labor Standards and the Local Board of Health.
Phase 1 – Start – Today construction sites, manufacturing plants and religious institutions (40% capacity limit), firearms retailers and shooting ranges can be reopened with severe restrictions. These restrictions include safety standards for work places in regards to: social distancing, hygiene, staffing operations and cleaning and disinfecting and mandatory safety standards. As businesses prepare to reopen, all need to develop a written COVID-1 control plan, and sign a poster attesting they created one, and post it for employees and visitors to see.
May 25 – offices outside of Boston can begin to welcome employees back at no more than a 25% capacity. A wider range of businesses will be permitted to reopen including hair salons and barbershops (by appointment only), pet grooming (by appointment only) and retail stores (remote fulfillment and curbside pickup, including recreational marijuana). Other health care providers can begin to provide high priority preventative care, pediatric care and treatment for high-risk patients. Certain outdoor activities such as parks, zoos, fishing, hunting and boating, outdoor gardens, reserves, some athletic fields and courts can reopen. Beaches can open in time for Memorial Day as well as drive in theatres.
June 1, 2020 – offices in Boston will be allowed to open back to their employees with the same 25% capacity restriction.
Travelers are to abide by the Safer At Home Advisory. All Travelers to Massachusetts are still urged to self-quarantine for 14 days. Lodging is restricted to essential workers only.
Phase 2 – Cautious – If the virus caseloads continue to trend downward and other metrics, including that hospitalization numbers continue to go down, the state will progress to Phase Two – Cautious – where additional industries may resume operations with restrictions and capacity limits. This phase is at least 3 weeks away. This phase will include reopening restaurants (to include open dining areas) and most retail stores (including browsing in store), libraries (to include browsing inside), driving school behind the wheel training, hotels at limited capacity, playgrounds, campgrounds, and some youth sports, all athletic fields, courts and day camps. Places like nail salons, day spas, massage therapy and tattoo parlors, miniature golf, go-karts and batting cages will reopen as well as public pools. MBTA service would be resumed on the Blue Line. The T would add more buses to high demand routes.
In this phase, business and recreational travel is still discouraged, all travelers to MA are urged to self-quarantine for 14 days, but lodging would be open with restrictions.
Less urgent preventative services and care (i.e. routine dental cleanings and certain elective procedures) could be reopened.
Phase 3 – Vigilant – Additional industries resume operations with guidance. This phase is at least six weeks away. Here we will see bars (as defined as establishments that only serve alcohol and do not have kitchen areas that prepare on site food), gyms, casino gaming areas, movie theatres, museums, performance venues such as concert halls, theatres, sightseeing (bus tours, duck boats, harbor cruises, whale watching), tours, indoor recreation such as batting cages and go-karts, youth sports with games and tournaments (limited crowd sizes). All other business activities would resume with the exception of nightclubs and large gatherings.
Travel in this phase would be determined based on trends.
Phase 4 – The New Normal – The development of a vaccine and/or therapy to enable resumption of a ‘new normal’. These would include reopening large venues, arenas, stadiums, nightclubs, and racetracks and sports venues. Full reopening, which would include a full resumption of all activities, is at least nine weeks away.
Travel in this phase would resume, with continued observation of social distancing guidance.
According to the Boston Globe, each phase could last longer, and should COVID-19 begin spreading rapidly again, industries could be told again to shutter their doors.
As we move into the various phases of reopening in Massachusetts and our “new normal”, it is unclear how quickly people will want to get back to their normal routines. It is important to remain patient.
The lawyers at Nadeau Harkavy LLC help victims and their families recover damages for their losses in serious injury and wrongful death cases arising from motor vehicle accidents. If you have any questions about your legal rights relating to a motor vehicle accident, wrongful death or other accident, feel free to contact us for a free consult today at 617-674-7640.