Libraries, youth sports, driving schools to reopen soon

Baker administration releases more phase two guidelines

IF YOU’VE LONG AGO finished the stack of books on your nightstand, or if you’re waiting anxiously to finish your driver training, or if your windows need washing, Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan has potentially good news for you.

Although the governor will not decide until Saturday on what date the state will proceed to phase two of its reopening plan, and the reopening will not be before next Monday, state officials on Monday released more details about what industries will be allowed to reopen next.

Baker on Friday laid out some guidance for retailers, restaurants, lodging establishments, and pro sports. The next phase of the reopening will let stores reopen to customers and restaurants open with outdoor seating. On Monday, administration officials gave even more specific guidance about exactly who can reopen when. Effective today, staff from these businesses will be allowed to enter their workplaces to prepare.

Childcare, summer day camps, and some youth sports will be allowed to reopen during the second phase, with significant restrictions governing health and safety. Non-athletic classes – like summer school or arts classes – can begin in groups of less than 10 students.

Kids and adults will be able to return to playgrounds, pools, mini golf, spray decks, batting cages, and climbing walls.

Libraries, now restricted to curbside pickup, can reopen for browsing, with restrictions.

Indoor youth sports and outdoor adult sports can resume, although indoor sports for adults cannot happen until phase three. Only non-contact sports will be allowed, with fewer than 10 participants, and games and tournaments between teams will be prohibited.

Shopping malls can reopen for business, with capacity restrictions, although food courts, arcades, and play areas must remain closed.

Also in phase two:

Casino hotels and restaurants will be able to reopen, although gaming floors will remain closed until phase three.

Driving schools will be allowed to offer behind-the-wheel training. Flight schools can reopen. Outdoor driving ranges can reopen.

Post-secondary schools and trade schools can reopen for the limited purpose of allowing someone to complete the courses needed to obtain a degree.

Personal services that do not require close contact, like photography, window washing, home cleaning, and career coaching, will resume at the beginning of phase two. Personal services that require close contact – like massage therapy, nail salons, tattoo parlors, electrolysis studios, and individual personal training – can open later in phase two.

Funeral homes can resume holding services at 40 percent of capacity.

Outdoor historic sites can reopen, but indoor sites will have to wait until phase three.

Baker has outlined a four-phase reopening plan, with at least three weeks between each phase. The third phase will include entertainment facilities such as gyms, pools, smaller theaters, movie theaters, aquariums, museums, batting cages, arcades, bowling alleys, and trampolines.  Higher education will resume, as will overnight camps. Outdoor weddings and large gatherings can be held in phase three. So can duck tours and harbor cruises, as well as fishing and hunting tournaments.

Meet the Author

Shira Schoenberg

Reporter, CommonWealth

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

About Shira Schoenberg

Shira Schoenberg is a reporter at CommonWealth magazine. Shira previously worked for more than seven years at the Springfield Republican/MassLive.com where she covered state politics and elections, covering topics as diverse as the launch of the legal marijuana industry, problems with the state's foster care system and the elections of U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Gov. Charlie Baker. Shira won the Massachusetts Bar Association's 2018 award for Excellence in Legal Journalism and has had several stories win awards from the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Shira covered the 2012 New Hampshire presidential primary for the Boston Globe. Before that, she worked for the Concord (N.H.) Monitor, where she wrote about state government, City Hall and Barack Obama's 2008 New Hampshire primary campaign. Shira holds a master's degree from Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism.

The final phase will include large venues and facilities with close contact – saunas, bars, nightclubs, large movie theaters, performance spaces, stadiums, and convention halls. Street festivals, parades, agricultural fairs, and road races will be reserved for phase four. It is unclear how long it will take to reach the fourth phase, called the “new normal,” which Baker has said will require the development of vaccines or treatments for COVID-19.

Read the full guidelines here and Baker’s executive order here.