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Key takeaways from Baker’s reopening plan for Massachusetts

Construction workers returned to work Monday in the Seaport as Governor Baker began to ease restrictions.
Construction workers returned to work Monday in the Seaport as Governor Baker began to ease restrictions.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

Governor Charlie Baker on Monday announced the details of his reopening plan as the state continues to see positive trends in fighting the coronavirus.

The plan, which is divided into four phases, is contingent on the state continuing to see positive trends in the key metrics like hospitalization rates, the rate of positive coronavirus test results, and other factors. In a presentation released by the state, the Baker administration warned that if Massachusetts sees “significant increases in viral transmission,” the state may need to move backwards through the phases and close things down again.

The administration also said that all businesses that resume operations must adhere to a number of industry-specific social distancing measures.

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As of Monday, the stay at home advisory has been replaced with a “safer at home” advisory.

— Those at high risk for COVID-19 – such as people over the age of 65 and people who have underlying health conditions – should continue to stay home except for essential activities.

— All other residents are advised to remain at home, but the list of exceptions to the advisory has grown and now includes things like visiting a house of worship, shopping, and outdoor activities, in addition to going to work and running essential errands.

— Residents must continue to wear a face mask and are advised to continue frequent hand washing. Residents should also vigilantly monitor their health and stay home if they feel ill.

— Gatherings of more than 10 people are still not allowed.

As of May 18, Mass. has entered Phase One of the reopening plan.

On Monday, manufacturing and construction businesses are allowed to begin operating, with social distancing restrictions. Houses of worship can reopen with limited capacity. Hospitals and community health centers can provide “high priority preventative care, pediatric care and treatment for high risk patients and conditions.”

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On May 25, the following businesses can reopen with restrictions: Office space, except in Boston, and lab space. Some personal services can reopen, such as hair salons, pet grooming, and car washes. Retail can reopen for curbside pickup or delivery. More health care providers can begin providing preventative services.

Also on May 25, many outdoor recreational activities can resume in Mass.: Beaches, parks, and drive-in theaters; some athletic fields and courts; “outdoor adventure” activities; most fishing, hunting, and boating; and outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves, and public installations can all reopen with restrictions.

On June 1, office space in Boston can reopen with restrictions.

Baker announced more details about which industries will be part of Phases Two, Three, and Four of his reopening plan.

In addition to providing specific dates for some industries to reopen in Massachusetts, the Baker administration also provided details about which industries will be allowed to open in each of the four phases. For example, restaurants are currently set to reopen in Phase Two, but bars may not reopen until Phase Three. Nightclubs and large venues will not be allowed to reopen until Phase Four. Read the document for full details.

Baker outlined plans for the MBTA, but there are no changes to the current schedule yet.

As part of Phase One, no changes have been made to the operating schedule of the MBTA. It will continue to run on a Saturday schedule or adapted Saturday schedule. Ferries will remain shut down.

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The Baker administration is asking employers to stagger start times so as to avoid packed subway cars and buses at rush hour.

The announcement was light on details about child care.

Anxious parents who may be looking for child care information did not get many concrete details in Baker’s latest reopening plan. While day care centers remain closed, the Baker administration said it would focus on building capacity for the state’s emergency child care system for essential workers. The reopening plan calls for prioritizing options for “workers with no safe alternative to group care.”

Summer camps will be allowed to open under Phase Two of the reopening plan, but residential summer camps can’t reopen until Phase Three.


Christina Prignano can be reached at christina.prignano@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @cprignano.