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Reopening Massachusetts: Manufacturing, Construction, Offices To Come Back

PLYMOUTH – With pressure from a good portion of the business sector urging a full reopen, and vulnerable citizens urging continued caution, Gov. Charlie Baker seemed between a rock and a hard place Monday, as he released his plan to reopen the state’s economy, bit by bit.

The four phase plan, drafted by the state’s Reopening Advisory Board, details the reopening of places of worship, manufacturing and construction as of May 18, with lab space, offices, hair salons, pet grooming services and car washes set to reopen May 25. Essential services will remain open, as they have all along.

Retail businesses may also reopen immediately, as long as they are able to offer delivery and curbside pickup, Baker said; that rules out in-store shopping for the time being. Phase I, which began Monday, also shows office space across the state reopening with a 25 percent density limit, while office space in Boston is set to reopen June 1 under the plan.

The phases are supposed to begin three weeks apart, according to the plan. However, Baker cautioned that data will determine if that timeline is maintained, or whether changes will need to made. In other words, spikes in the pandemic could bring things grinding to a halt, once again, and phases could be shifted. He stressed that businesses and organizations allowed to reopen need to carefully review the guidelines the Reopening Advisory Board has set in place, and follow them.

Everyone needs to cover their nose and mouth in public unless they can keep at least six feet from other people, Baker said. Hand washing and routinely cleaning surfaces goes without saying, he added. Cooperation will be needed from everyone in the state if this reopening plan is to succeed, he said.

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