This week, the Baker-Polito administration outlined a four-phase approach to reopening Massachusetts businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new phases will allow certain businesses, services and activities to resume while continuing to protect civilian health.
• Phase 1: "Start"
Limited industries may resume operations with severe restrictions.
"We're looking at industries that are more set up to have little face-to-face interactions and workplaces that are better able to manage face-to-face customer interactions within certain conditions," Baker responded.
• Phase 2: "Cautious"
This phase will allow industries with more face-to-face interactions to resume operations with restrictions and capacity limits.
• Phase 3: "Vigilant"
Baker claims that the state "can allow for loosening of some of the restrictions from some of the earlier phases if in fact the public health data continues to conform to the terms that we're all pursuing as we look at that going forward."
• Phase 4: "New Normal"
The final phase will occur when a vaccine has been developed to effectively treat COVID-19.
Businesses and activities that provided “COVID-19 Essential Services,” per Governor Baker’s March order, will continue to operate.
In addition, the Department of Public Health and COVID-19 Command Center has developed Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards to reduce the risk of transmission as employees begin to return to workplaces.
These standards are applicable to all sectors and industries that will open in phase one.
For social distancing:
- All persons, including employees, customers, and vendors should remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside workplaces
- Establish protocols to ensure that employees can practice adequate social distancing
- Provide signage for safe social distancing
- Require face coverings or masks for all employees
- Provide hand washing capabilities throughout the workplace
- Ensure frequent hand washing by employees and adequate supplies to do so
- Provide regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site
For staffing and operations:
- Provide training for employees regarding the social distancing and hygiene protocols
- Employees who are displaying COVID19-like symptoms do not report to work
- Establish a plan for employees getting ill from COVID-19 at work, and a return-to-work plan
For cleaning and disinfecting:
- Establish and maintain cleaning protocols specific to the business
- When an active employee is diagnosed with COVID-19, cleaning and disinfecting must be performed
- Disinfection of all common surfaces must take place at intervals appropriate to said workplace