BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Based on the public health data collected in Massachusetts this week, Gov. Charlie Baker will announce on Saturday when Phase Two of the state's reopening plan can begin.
According to the executive order signed by Gov. Baker on Monday, the second phase will include the gradual reopening of restaurant service, childcare facilities, amateur organized sports, and retail.
At a press conference on Wednesday, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced the "new guidance and workplace safety standards" for facility operators and activity organizers of outdoor adult sport, youth sports, and summer sports camps.
"Speaking from our personal experience, I know how different this time has been for many families that have children in sports," Lt. Gov. Polito said. "We're used to spending time together on the sidelines and the bleachers, cheering our kids on. It's one of our greatest joys. It's been even tougher for our kids that miss their friends and teammates, and the togetherness they feel."
As part of Phase II, Polito said outdoor athletic facilities can reopen for organized youth and adult sports activities in accordance with the new industry protocol.
Outdoor sports guidance includes:
- Group size limited to no more than 10 participants, including coaches and staff.
- Games, scrimmages and tournaments will not be permitted for any organized sports activities.
- Additionally, contact sports must limit activities to no contact drills and practices (e.g., basketball, football, baseball, soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, hockey and other sports where ordinary play puts players in direct contact or close proximity.)
Indoor athletic facilities must be open and available "exclusively for the use of supervised sports programs, including sports camps, for youths under the age of 18."
That includes indoor pools, athletic fields and courts, ice rinks, tracks, gymnasiums, martial arts & dance facilities (provided such facilities have sufficient square footage for social distancing,) indoor racquet courts and batting cage facilities.
According to Mike Kennealy, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development, there are also new guidelines for the partial reopening of retail stores in Phase II.
"These standards apply to all retail businesses except for Farmers’ Markets, which shall continue to be governed by Department of Public Health Guidance," Kennealy said. "These standards supersede and replace existing Department of Public Health guidance governing grocery stores and pharmacies."
Retail reopening guidance includes:
- Each retail store must monitor customer entries and exits and limit occupancy to a maximum of 40 percent at all times
- Install physical barriers for checkout stations where possible, otherwise maintain 6 feet distance where not possible
- Install visual social distancing markers to encourage customers to remain 6 feet apart
- All workers and customers must wear face coverings, excluding those unable to due to a medical condition
- All grocery and retail stores with pharmacy services must offer at last one hour of exclusive time for customers age 60 or older
Within enclosed shopping malls and other indoor multi-tenant retail spaces:
- Retailers or restaurants serving food and beverage may only provide take-out or delivery service
- Any seating areas, including food courts, must be closed
- Any children’s play areas must be closed
- All arcades must be closed
According to the Commissioner Samantha Aigner-Treworgy of the Department of Early Education and Care, the reopening of the state's childcare facilities is also included in Phase Two.
"Childcare, recreational summer programs, and day camps serving youth are all critical components in getting families and the economy back to work," she said.
Childcare facility reopening guidance includes:
- A cleaning plan that identifies what items must be cleaned, sanitized, or disinfected and with what frequency
- A plan for identifying and handling sick, symptomatic, and exposed children and staff
- A plan for the isolation and discharge of sick, symptomatic, and exposed children or staff
- A plan for the administration of medication including for the treatment of children with asthma and other chronic illness.
- Preparation of the materials and equipment to be used by children to minimize sharing and promote distancing.
- Ensure that there are adequate provisions for the storage of child and staff belongings so that they do not touch.
- Cancel all field trips, inter-group events, and extracurricular activities.
Gov. Baker reiterated that his Administration is releasing the industry-specific guidelines now, ahead of the second phase of reopening, in order to allow the affected businesses time to prepare. Officials will announce the date for the start of Phase Two on Saturday, June 6th.
You can find all the new guidelines for businesses allowed to reopen in Phase Two here.
(Photo: Getty Images)