By Beth David, Editor
The state of Massachusetts entered Phase II of its reopening strategy this week. Governor Charlie Baker announced that restaurants can open with outdoor seating, and in-store retail shopping can open with limitations on the number of people allowed in stores.
Face masks are still required inside and outside whenever a distance of six feet cannot be maintained between people.
Indoor table service at restaurants, and personal services, such massage therapy and nail salongs, will be able to open soon, during Step Two of Phase II, but a date has not been announced.
Health care restrictions are also easing. Hospitals can now allow one visitor per patient, and patients can be accompanied by one person when they go to the hospital or doctor’s office. They will be subject to screening for sickness, though.
Long term care facilities have been allowed limited outdoor visitation, and residential programs and other group homes can also have limited outdoor visits.
Hotels and other lodging may also resume booking guests, but no meetings or functions, including weddings or busiiness meetings. Out-of-state travelers will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Day camps and child care centers may also open, with restrictions.
Other health care providers, such as dentists and optometrists are also allowed to open this week. Routine office visits and other elective, non-urgent procedures may also resume, although some have restrictions.
Other businesses that are not specifically addressed in the order are also allowed to open if they maintain social distancing and hygiene protocols.
These include separation of six feet or more between individuals; reconfiguring or closing work spaces and high density areas such as break rooms, to allow social distancing; installing visual markers for customers to remain six feet apart; stagger llunch and break times for workers; require face coverings for all workers and customers, except when an individual is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or disability.
Businesses are also asked to improve ventilation, use contactless payment methods, ensure handwashing facilities on sie; and provide regular sanitization of high touch areas.
Visit www.mass.gov for details on sector specific guidelines, and other resources for businesses.
To read Governor Baker’s Phase II excutive order visit https://www. mass.gov/ doc/june-6-2020-phase-ii-reopening
Massachusetts has had 103,889 confirmed cases of COVID-19 by press time; 658,058 people have been tested; 7,408 people have died in Massachusetts from the virus. Nationwide, by press time there were 1,956,421 confirmed cases; 110,925 total.
The Bayside Lounge on Sconticut Neck Road in Fairhaven immediately opened up outdoor dining. Patrick and Meghan said it was their first time out at a restaurant, and it was his birthday on 6/8/20, so the timing was pretty good. Patrick said he was nice to see a “separate set of four walls.”
“It’s lovely,” said Pam Francis, as she sat with friends outside. “It’s so relaxing.”
She said it has been very stressful not being able to go anywhere the last few weeks.
Owner Kevin Vasconellos said, “Having a drink with the sun in your face, is great.”
“It’s a little bit of normal,” said Ms. Francis.
Andy and Lynda Racine also said it was simply a nice change to get out.
“Feeling better by the minute,” said Mr. Racine.
“It’s nice to get out on a nice day like this,” said Ms. Racine. “Instead of looking at the same lawn.”
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