COVID-19: Massachusetts Governor Provides New Guidance on Reopening Phase 2

On June 1, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued COVID-19 Order No. 35, providing new guidance on Phase 2 of the Reopening Advisory Board’s Reopening Massachusetts Plan. The new guidance explains advance preparations that must be completed by reopening businesses, provides a list of the businesses that may reopen or expand their operations, details a plan for outdoor restaurant dining service, and sets forth new rules for sports activities and programs. Governor Baker did not provide a firm date for when Phase 2 will begin, but stated that it will be set for no earlier than Monday, June 8 and that on Saturday, June 6, his office will provide an update.

In Phase 2, the following businesses and activities will be able to open, subject to general and specific safety standards:

  • Retail stores, including stores in enclosed shopping malls
  • Restaurants with seated food service, including beer gardens, wineries, and distilleries
  • Hotels, motels, inns, and other short-term lodgings
  • Organized youth and outdoor adult amateur sports activities and programs without contact
  • Professional sports training programs
  • Personal services at a fixed place of business or client location, first with no close personal contact (such as house cleaning, photography, and tutoring), and then with close personal contact (such as personal training, massage, and nail salons)
  • Non-athletic classes for children in small groups
  • Driving and flight schools
  • Outdoor historical places with no functions or tours
  • Funeral homes for single services at 40% occupancy
  • Warehouses and distribution centers
  • Golf and other outdoor recreational facilities, including pools, playgrounds, batting cages, and ropes courses
  • Post-secondary and occupational schools for the limited purpose of permitting students to complete programs and for summer youth programming
  • Day camps
  • Public libraries

Businesses in the above categories are exempt from the 10-person limitation on indoor and confined outdoor gatherings if they comply with social distancing requirements and workplace safety rules, including sector-specific rules. The order also provided additional detail about what businesses would be included in Phases 3 and 4. Post-secondary schools, adult instructional classes, gyms and fitness centers, indoor adult recreational sports, casinos, museums, aquariums, indoor theaters, outdoor performance venues, and overnight summer camps will remain closed until Phase 3, which will begin in late June at the earliest. Street festivals and road races will remain closed until Phase 4. For a summary of the four-phase plan and list of businesses permitted to reopen during Phase 1, see our earlier summary here.

The governor’s office released previews of safety standards and checklists for specific industries that will apply in Phase 2, including guidance for restaurantslodgingretail businesses, and golf facilities. Governor Baker has also issued an Order regarding reopening preparations for child care programs. The Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards continue to apply to all sectors and industries, and include guidance on social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting. Phase 2 does not include any changes to the operation of public transportation and maintains the 14-day self-quarantine instructions for travelers to Massachusetts. With the exceptions to businesses permitted to reopen in Phase 2, gatherings continue to be limited to 10 or fewer people except for gatherings in an unenclosed outdoor space.

Pierce Atwood’s COVID-19 Response Team continues to track all executive orders issued for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Baker Administration. For a complete list, please visit our related coverage, available here. We also have a quick reference guide on New England reopening orders that is updated on a regular basis, available here.

For questions on these latest orders, please contact Pierce Atwood attorneys Kate Hamann or Melanie Conroy.