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Phase 1 reopening begins

Leader Herald 29
Traffic on Broadway is picking up as the state slowly reopens businesses. (Photo by Jim Mahoney)

Baker, Polito set timetable for state’s gradual revival


Where Massachusetts goes, Everett is sure to follow.

May 25 marks the official beginning of relaxation of restrictions shutting down the economy and causing the mass social distancing of Massachusetts residents in every aspect of our lives.

“It is the beginning of the road back to where we all want to be,” Lt. Governor Karyn Polito told the Leader Herald.

Polito is in charge of the phased reopening of the state, and by default, is in charge of the cities and towns as they come back to economic life after a long fight against the Coronavirus.

Manufacturing, construction and houses of worship have gotten the OK to open with obvious restrictions.

Houses of worship are restricted to 40% of capacity and parishioners must be seated at six foot intervals.

Left out of the mix for now are restaurants and bars and every sort of large gathering where hundreds of people are traditionally gathered together shoulder to shoulder in almost every instance.

Working at home is recommended for those with office jobs. Office spaces will have a 25% maximum capacity during this Phase 1 action.

This will effect the reopening of Everett City Hall and of the School Department. Safety features and new health and sanitation rules must be in place before a reopening of those two venues can occur.

Everett’s return to yesterday mimics the state’s with a careful slow and sure response to the virus rather than a precipitous, out of control reopening as residents have watched on television in other states where many thousands appear to have abandoned reality in return for a perceived sense of freedom and have cast their fate to the wind with the virus.

As of May 25 Everett’s many barbershops and hair salons will be appointment only for now.

Customers must wait outside in their cars or social distancing lines. Pet groomers will also be appointment only.

Recreation facilities can also open up with guidelines, including beaches, parks, drive in theaters, some athletic fields and courts, most fishing, hunting and boating and outdoor gardens, zoos and reserves.

Phase 1 will last a minimum of three weeks, and could last longer until a move to Phase 2. It all depends on public health data.

This fight has not ended. Many questions remain about the efficacy of reopening before the virus has been shut down and nearly eliminated.

However nearly all 50 states are now attempting to reopen while the national death toll stands at over 90,000 and rising.

Everett continues to rack up larger numbers of infected.

As of Tuesday morning, the number stood officially at 1,450 with 25 deaths.

Phase 2, if allowed, will include opening restaurants, retail and lodging and additional personal services, including nail salons and day spas with strictly imposed limitations.

For now, bars and restaurants, casinos, gyms and museums remain closed.

During this Phase 1 period, the state is insisting that people should leave home for health care, permitted work, shopping and outdoor activities only.

Encore Boston Harbor will remain closed most likely for much of the summer, according to the state’s guidelines.

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