Safer at Home Advisory
Effective today, the Department of Public Health also updated the Stay at Home Advisory, replacing it with a new, “Safer at Home” Advisory. The new Safer at Home Advisory instructs everyone to stay home unless they are headed to a newly opened facility or activity. It also advises those over the age of 65 and those with underlying health conditions to stay home with the exception of trips required for health care, groceries, or that are otherwise absolutely necessary. All residents must continue to wear a face covering in public when social distancing is not possible, and individuals are advised to wash their hands frequently and be vigilant in monitoring for symptoms. Restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people remain in effect.
Mandatory Self-Certification for Reopening Businesses
In order to reopen, a business must develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how its workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. Required Materials are located on mass.gov/reopening, and include:
- COVID-19 control plan: Businesses may complete a template to fulfill this requirement. This plan does not need to be submitted to a state agency for approval, but must be retained on the premises of the business and be provided in the event of an inspection. Click here to access a template COVID-19 control plan.
- Compliance attestation poster: Businesses are required to sign a poster, attesting that they have completed a COVID-19 control plan, and post it in an area within the business premises that is visible to employees and visitors. Click here to download the poster.
- Other posters: Businesses are required to post signs and posters describing the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, cleaning, and disinfecting. These include an Employer Poster and a Worker Poster.
Phase 1: First Portion, Begins Today
Upon implementing new COVID-19 safety standards and completing a self-attestation checklist, the following sectors are permitted to reopen today, Monday May 18th:
- Places of Worship
- Hospitals and community health centers who attest to meeting specific capacity criteria and public health/safety standards will be allowed to resume a limited set of in-person preventative, diagnostic and treatment services
Each business or Place of Worship will be required to meet the Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards referenced above before reopening. Additionally,
each industry also has a series of Sector Specific Protocols
, that detail the policies workplaces should enforce to maintain compliance:
Phase 1: Later Portion, Starting May 25th
The following sectors, industries, and activities will be permitted to resume on May 25th:
- Auto dealers and wholesalers (curbside pickup only)
- Car washes
- Hair salons / barbershops
- General office spaces (except in the City of Boston)
- Lab space
- Libraries (curbside pickup and delivery only)
- Pet grooming
- Retail (curbside pickup only)
- Certain outdoor recreation activities (including beaches; parks; drive-in movie theaters; select athletic fields and courts; most fishing, hunting, and boating; outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves, and public installations)
- Other health care providers (not included in the May 18th categorization) who attest to meeting specific capacity criteria and public health/safety standards will be allowed to resume a limited set of in-person preventative, diagnostic and treatment services
Sector Specific Protocols have been published for some of the industries included in the later portion of Phase 1;
please click the hyperlink to access the corresponding
Sector Specific Protocols. It is critical to review the detailed guidance; for example, office space re-opening on May 25th will be limited to 25% of building capacity.
Public Health Metrics to Determine Advancing to Later Phases
Each phase will last a
minimum of three weeks
and could last longer before moving to the next phase; public health data will determine advancement to later phases. If public health data trends are negative, specific industries, regions, and/or the entire state may need to return to an earlier phase.
Key public health metrics will determine if and when it is appropriate to proceed through reopening phases. They include:
- COVID-19 positive test rate
- Number of individuals who died from COVID-19
- Number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals
- Health care system readiness
- Testing capacity
- Contact tracing capabilities
Sector-Specific Protocols for industries opening in later phases will be published in advance of future phases (example: restaurant specific protocols will be drafted in advance of Phase 2).
In publishing this information, the administration has stressed that
this is not an exhaustive list of all possible businesses that can open in each phase; it may be updated from time to time.
- Auto dealers and wholesalers (browsing inside the showroom with restrictions)
- Libraries (browsing inside the Library with restrictions)
- Retail (browsing inside the store with restrictions)
- Casinos (hotel & restaurant portions only)
- Driving schools (behind-the-wheel training or observation of another student driver; online instruction currently allowed)
- Hotels (currently open to serve essential workers and vulnerable populations; reopen to serve other guests with restrictions)
- Other personal services (such as nail salons, day spas, massage therapy, tattoo parlors, electrolysis studios)
- Restaurants (can begin opening dining areas; currently open for takeout and delivery)
- Casinos (gaming area)
- Bars (establishments that only serve alcohol and do not have kitchen areas that prepare food on-site)
- Gyms, fitness studios
- Movie theatres
- Performance venues (such as concert halls, theatres)
- Large venues (such as arenas, stadiums, night clubs, race tracks, other sports venues)
To Be Determined
- Amusement parks
- Flight schools (specific plan being developed)
Enforcement of new safety standards is a joint responsibility between the Department of Labor Standards (DLS), the Department of Public Health (DPH), and local boards of health. Before reopening, businesses must self-certify that they will operate in compliance with the new safety standards and protocols. They will be required to complete a checklist and post a series of posters in a place where they can be viewed by employees and customers. The business must produce this self-certification, if requested by the local board of health, DLS, or DPH.
In some cases, business will also be required to develop a written COVID-19 control plan. Enforcement will scale from verbal consultation and redirection, to written redirection, to fines, and finally to cease-and-desist letters. Local boards of health that need assistance or guidance can call the DLS hotline at (508) 616-0461 x9488 or send an email to email@example.com.
The MBTA has been and will continue to implement measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 across the system to keep employees and riders safer.
While public transportation unavoidably creates some risk of transmission, working together the MBTA, riders and employers can significantly reduce that risk:
- Riders are required to wear face coverings and must make efforts to distance Riders are asked to avoid riding transit if they are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19
- Employers are encouraged to stagger schedules and implement work from home policies to reduce demand, especially during rush hours
- The MBTA will continue to take protective and preventative measures such as frequently disinfecting and cleaning vehicles and stations and providing protective supplies to workers
To mitigate risk while providing appropriate levels of service, the MBTA will:
- Support the transit needs of essential workers and those returning to the workplace in Phase 1 while continuing with limited service to maximize employee and rider safety
- Ramp up to a modified version of full service by Phase 3, although social distancing efforts will limit effective capacity on vehicles even after full service schedules are restored
- Actively communicate public health guidance and schedule adjustments in-station, online, and over social media
Child care and summer recreation camps will reopen in a phased approach. The Departments of Early Education and Care and Public Health are developing guidelines that balance families' need for child care with health and safety. The initial reopening plan will focus on families who have no safe alternative to group care by increasing emergency child care capacity. EEC will also partner with industries returning to work to develop options specific to their workplaces.
In March, the Baker-Polito Administration stood up an emergency child care system to support children of essential workers and vulnerable families with extra virus mitigation protocols. During Phase 1, the emergency child care system we have already in place will be utilized to meet the needs of people with no alternatives for care. Currently, only 35% of emergency child care capacity is occupied, and the system has the ability to serve more families to provide care options as more sectors come back online.
On March 23rd, non-essential businesses across Massachusetts were closed to decrease the transmission of COVID-19. On April 28th, the order to close non-essential businesses was extended until May 18. At that time, Governor Baker announced the formation of a Reopening Advisory Board, chaired by Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, and comprised of representatives from the business community, public health officials, and municipal leaders from across the Commonwealth. The board met with over 75 business associations, labor unions, non-profits, and community coalitions that collectively represent more than 112,000 businesses and more than 2,000,000 employees. Additionally, the board received and considered more than 3,400 written submissions. Finally, the board established a Municipal Government Workstream that has met three times a week to discuss issues specifically pertaining to cities and towns.