Reopening expected to be slow, cautious
Reports suggest church services will resume
EXPECTATIONS ARE RUNNING HIGH that Gov. Charlie Baker will begin to throw open the economy on Monday, but sources say the coming week will see relatively few changes.
Business groups and the public in general have been clamoring for details in advance of the reopening, but Baker appears content to release a report from an advisory board on Monday and put off any major action until roughly a week later. The next phases are not likely to start kicking in until June.
Several news organizations reported Sunday night that construction and manufacturing businesses, as well as houses of worship, will be allowed to reopen immediately as long as they comply with general guidelines on wearing masks and social distancing as well as industry-specific guidelines that will be outlined in the report. Many construction and manufacturing businesses are currently open, so it’s not clear how widespread the reopenings in those industries will be.
Baker has indicated he wanted to see churches reopen, but they will be allowed to do so only if they operate much like supermarkets, limiting how many people can attend at one time and requiring attendees to remain six feet apart at all times. Families would be allowed to sit together at services, according to MassLive.
On Tuesday, Baker said any business allowed to reopen would have to meet conditions on wearing masks and practicing social distancing as well as industry-specific guidelines.
“The folks that are most likely to be able to operate successfully on the 18th are going to be many of the folks that are currently operating – they’re essential businesses,” Baker said. “But they are going to have to operate under the statewide guidelines and the industry-specific guidelines that will be issued as part of issuing the report on the 18th.”
On Friday, Baker described the reopening report as well-thought-out, but the words he used to describe the reopening were cautious, careful, slow, and steady.
“I absolutely know that people who think we’re going too fast will say you’re going too fast and people who think we’re going too slow will say you’re going too slow,” he said. “That’s kind of where we are here folks, and that’s where we’re going to be for awhile.”The trend lines on the coronavirus in Massachusetts are continuing to move in the right direction. On Sunday, the state reported 1,077 new COVID-19 cases, which represented 8.5 percent of the new tests conducted.
Hospitalizations overall and patients in intensive care both continued to drop. Even the number of new deaths fell below 100, but that’s happened before to only rebound the next day. There were 92 new COVID-19 deaths reported on Sunday – 47 in long-term care facilities and 45 in hospitals and everywhere else. So far, 61 percent of the 5,797 COVID-19 deaths in Massachusetts have taken place in nursing homes,