Massachusetts can enter Step 2 of the second reopening phase on Monday, meaning some services that have been out of business for months due to the coronavirus can begin welcoming back customers.
Here’s a look at what can reopen on Monday, and what restrictions are in place.
Indoor restaurant service
Although restaurants were allowed to open for outdoor dining earlier this month, they are now being allowed to open their indoor areas.
There is no capacity limit, but all tables must be 6 feet apart, Governor Charlie Baker said at a news conference on Friday. (The state decided on this approach because “the configuration varies from one building to the next,” Baker said, and also because capacity limits vary town by town.)
There is still a maximum party size of six, and bar seating is still a no-no, Baker said. State guidance also notes that any other amenities or areas not used for food and beverage service — such as dance floors and pool tables — must be closed or removed to prevent customers from gathering.
Both customers and workers are required to wear face coverings, but customers can remove them while they’re seated at a table. Table servers also must wash their hands or use hand sanitizer between each table interaction.
Self-serve, unattended buffets, topping bars, drink stations, and other communal serving areas must remain closed.
Similar to the rules being observed for outdoor dining, no condiments or salt/pepper shakers will be left on any indoor tables, and utensils should be rolled. Menus should either be on paper that are thrown out after each use, displayed publicly where customers can see them (such as on a chalkboard), or a list of offerings should be viewed individually on customers’ phones (such as through the restaurant’s website).
Baker also noted that he wanted at least two weeks’ worth of data on indoor dining before potentially moving on to the third phase of reopening. Based on previous plans, the earliest Phase 3 could have started was June 29; now the earliest Phase 3 could start is July 6. (Since the state wants at least three weeks between each phase, it stands to reason that Phase 4 likely could also see its earliest possible start date pushed from July 20 to July 27.)
Retail store dressing rooms
Stores now can allow people to use their fitting rooms — by appointment only. (This is sure to help specialty retailers, such as wedding dress shops. )
Offices can expand to 50 percent capacity
Offices are permitted to go from 25 percent to 50 percent capacity, Governor Charlie Baker said on Friday. However, businesses should continue to encourage employees to work from home whenever they can, especially in Boston, where many people rely on the MBTA for transportation, Baker said.
“It’s not easy for many to work from home, especially with kids and other distractions, but it’s incredibly helpful in reducing the spread of COVID, and it also leaves transportation venues open and available to those who have to go to a physical place of employment,” Baker said.
Close-contact services can reopen
Many services that require close contact between business workers and customers — such as in the self-care and grooming industries — are allowed to reopen on Monday. However, businesses are asked to require workers to wear gloves, gowns, or smocks, as well as prescription glasses, safety glasses, or goggles.
All workstations must be 6 feet apart. Ventilation for enclosed spaces must be improved where possible — for example, opening windows and doors. Face coverings are still required for all customers and workers, except for exemptions due to a medical condition.
All businesses also must clean commonly touched surfaces in restrooms, such as toilet seats, doorknobs, stall handles, sinks, paper towel dispensers, and soap dispensers.
Close-contact services that can open Monday include:
- Nail salons
In all close-contact services, businesses should close their waiting areas and ask customers to wait outside or in their cars until their appointment. Amenities like magazines, water, or coffee for customers and coat rooms should be removed or shut down. (So if you still want to read a trashy tabloid during your pedicure, you’ll have to bring one from home.)
Tools and surfaces such as tables, chairs, finger bowls, and clippers should be disinfected or replaced in between customers. (Businesses also can choose to use disposable plastic coverings on chairs, tables, and/or workstations.)
Workers must disinfect or replace tools, implements, and surfaces between customers (e.g., tables, finger bowls, chairs and headrests, spatulas, clippers, spacers, styling tools).
Tools that cannot be disinfected, such as nail files and buffers, must be discarded after use.
- Massage therapy
Similar to nail salons, chairs and headrests must be disinfected in between customers. All linens, including towel drapes, must also be laundered in hot soapy water and dry completely between each use.
- Makeup salons and makeup application services
Tools and supplies, such as brushes, cannot be shared between workers, and all tools must be cleaned between each customer.
- Personal training
Personal training falls under the close-contact category, according to the state. Training should be by appointment only; only one customer, or two customers from the same household, should be allowed in the facility at a time.
- Tattoo and piercing parlors
Workers cannot share tools and supplies, such as needles; all tools must be cleaned between each customer.
- Hair removal services
- Tanning salons