How Governor Baker Plans to Reopen the State



Governor Baker announced his plans to reopen the state on Monday May 18th

Keely Jordan, Managing Editior

Governor Baker plans to reopen the state in a four-stage plan. (Governor’s Office)

It has been over 3 months since the COVID-19 pandemic sent Massachusetts and the majority of the country into a state of lockdown. Quarantine has been hard on a lot of people both mentally, physically, and economically. So, when Governor Baker announced that he planned to reopen the state starting May 18th, for many it was a cause to rejoice. However, others fear that if the state is opened too soon, we could be hit with another wave of the virus. So what exactly does Governor Baker’s plan entail? What has already been done to reopen the state since May 18th?

Governor Baker has announced a four-step plan to open the state again. Currently, we are in phase one of the plan. This means that certain nonessential businesses are allowed to reopen with strictly enforced guidelines. This step of the plan began on May 18th with the opening of essential business, manufacturing, and construction. It was then extended on May 25 to allow for lab and office spaces outside of Boston to open. It also allowed for some limited personal services such as hair salons, pet grooming, and car washes. Phase one is set to open offices in Boston today, June 1st. Houses of worship were allowed to open on May 18th with guidelines provided to them. They are encouraged to host worship outside if possible. 

On a noneconomic front, many other places were set to reopen on May 25th including, beaches, parks, drive-in theaters, and certain athletic fields or courts. Most fishing, boating, and hunting are also allowed. Outdoor gardens, zoos, nature reserves, and public art installations are allowed to be open as well.   

Please keep in mind that as of now, gatherings are meant to be limited to less than ten people, masks are expected to be worn, and social distancing should still be enforced. 

Phase two is known as the cautious phase. If all goes well in phase one, phase two is set to begin 3 weeks after phase one has been in progress. If things go as projected in phase one, phase two is set to begin June 9th. Phase two will see certain businesses reopening with restrictions and capacity limits. Phase one business guidelines will potentially be updated. Commercial retail shops are set to open, as well as restaurants, nail salons, and day spas. Lodging in hotels or similar places will also be permitted. Campgrounds, playgrounds, public pools, and all public fields and courts are set to open. Youth sports in a limited capacity can also begin again. 

If all goes as planned in phase two, phase three is set to begin at the end of June or early July. It is known as the vigilant phase. Businesses such as bars, fitness centers, museums, and casinos are stated to open then. This will be the stage where the majority of businesses will open again, aside from nightclubs and large venues. Youth sports will be fully opened with a limited crowd size.  

Once a vaccine or treatment is developed to prevent the greater spread of the virus, Massachusetts will enter phase four, or “the new normal”. Phase four will open all businesses and houses of worship with no restrictions on them. All outdoor and recreational activities will be allowed to resume and life will return relatively to the way it was before.

Throughout all of the phases, people should keep their faces covered in public, wash their hands, and practice the appropriate amount of social distancing. It is important that if you feel sick, that you don’t go out and risk spreading the virus to others. Stay safe, stay vigilant for symptoms, and follow the regulations until we reach the new normal. We’re all in this together. 

If you want to learn more about Governor Baker’s plan to reopen MA, click the link below.