In The People's Blog

Moments ago, Governor Baker led a press conference with Lieutenant. Governor Karyn Polito, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Mike Kennealy, and Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders to announce the Administration’s reopening plan as the Commonwealth moves from a stay at home advisory to a safer at home advisory. Note: Safer at home is not a dramatic departure from the stay at home advisory but does reflect the beginning of a phased reopening.

I want to note upfront that the Administration’s four-phased roadmap will not address all of your questions. The shifting challenges posed by COVID-19 and the economic hardship so many are experiencing, as well how to reopen safely and how reopening applies to all of our unique and specific needs, is something that will continue to demand my team and my intense focus. We’re here for you. Send your questions now to jo.comerford@masenate.gov and my team and I will track down the answers.

We must also take a moment to remember that people across the Commonwealth continue to become infected with COVID-19 every day, and every day people succumb to the virus, so this phased approach demands our intensive review and painstaking implementation.

Here are links to specific information:

The reopening plan: https://www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts-may-18-2020/download

The specific four-phased approach: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-four-phase-approach

Industry-specific guidance: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-massachusetts

Here is the top line information:

About the plan

  • The plan is intended to open our economy sector-by-sector, and only when public health data indicators are trending appropriately.
  • We can expect a three week space between each phase at minimum
  • The plan announced today lays out the when and the how — when sectors can open and how they open.
  • The effort hinges on personal responsibility.
  • There are three areas of guidance issued today along with the plan:
  • Businesses not currently classified as essential must self-certify that they are ready to reopen and develop a COVID-19 control plan before they are allowed to reopen.
  • Businesses currently classified as essential can remain open but must also self-certify and develop a COVID-19 control plan before May 25.
  • The reopening will be enforced by local boards of health, the state’s Department of Public Health, and the state’s Department of Labor Standards based on concerns raised by employees, customers, and business owners and managers. I have some significant concerns about the feasibility of this set up and will dig in with colleagues to watchdog. And of course, my team and I will be available to all constituents who reach out.
  • The state is encouraging all businesses to allow employees to work from home as well as stagger shifts. Businesses are also encouraged to make workplace accommodations for the most vulnerable.
  • Businesses will be required to get the necessary protective supplies as well as develop education materials for their employees.
  • The Administration has launched a portal to connect employers to manufacturers that are producing supplies, with an emphasis on supporting the 430 Commonwealth companies that have repurposed their workplaces to address gaps in needed protective equipment.

About health care

  • As of today, some pediatric care, immunization, and urgent care that has been deferred and cannot be delivered remotely will begin to open.
  • On May 25, some additional health care providers will be able to offer additional services with an emphasis on strong support for telehealth.

About testing and health care metrics

  • The plan is to ramp up to 45,000 tests per day by the end of July and 75,000 tests per day by the end of December.
  • The goal is to decrease positive rates to five percent and increase testing for all congregate settings including prisons and jails, skilled nursing facilities, and group homes. The plan is to decrease test result turnaround time to same-day or next-day.
  • The Administration will release a dashboard with six indicators using a ‘red, yellow, green’ light system to indicate progress or concern:
    • 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. 

Child care

  • While K-12 schools remain remote, we still need a great deal of clarity around early child care.
  • Emergency childcare will be in place all the way through Phase 1.
  • The Administration is developing additional guidance (affected by constituents’ good advocacy) for early childhood care and summer camp protocols as well as what next year will look like.

And there’s much more we’ll need to understand about public transit, continued support for struggling main street businesses and workers, support for our municipalities, and more.

We’ll be with you all the way.

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