Governor Baker

Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker 

Governor Charles D. Baker Jr. announced further details regarding the four-phase approach to reopening the state during a news conference this morning.

Effective May 18, firearm retailers and shooting ranges; construction, home remodeling, construction-related home installations, such as painting and repairs; manufacturing facilities; and places of worship are able to resume services.

Each industry has been given a list of guidance specific to their own operations. That guidance can be found at mass.gov/reopening. The guidelines are mandatory.

The stay-at-home advisory now becomes a "safer at home" advisory, the governor said. Masks are still required when people cannot maintain social distancing, and visits to nursing homes and pickup sports are still off limits. There was no announcement made yet on any plans for the next school year.

The guidelines state that when it comes to places of worship, occupancy is limited to 40 percent capacity and individuals who do not live together must be seated six feet apart. In buildings where there is fixed seating—such as church pews—rows need to be blocked off so that social distancing can be enforced.

Attendees and staff must wear face coverings during religious services, though those with medical conditions that would make a face covering dangerous are exempt. Children under age 2 are also exempt.

Starting Monday, May 25, a number of additional industries will be allowed to reopen with restrictions in place, including barbershops and salons; pet grooming businesses; retail stores and libraries for curbside pickup or delivery service only; car dealers for curbside pickup and delivery only; car washes; drive-in movie theaters; office spaces at 25 percent capacity; lab space; and outdoor gardens and zoos.

Beaches and parks are currently open for walkers. Further activities will be allowed at these places beginning on May 25, as well.

Industries in the second phase include outdoor recreation such as go-kart tracks and miniature golf facilities; some outdoor performances; recreational day camps; libraries and retail for inside browsing and shopping; and dine-in service for restaurants.

Gyms and fitness centers, theaters, bars, museums, and movie theaters are all part of the third phase.

Gov. Baker said there will be at least three weeks between phases and that the coronavirus is expected to be a presence throughout the reopening process. Whether a new phase begins will be dependent upon whether certain metrics, such as new COVID-19 cases and related deaths, are on a decline. New phases will be delayed if those figures increase.

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