During a recent media meet in Boston, Charlie Baker – Massachusetts Governor discussed Phase 3 of the state’s plans to reopen. Most of the regions will reopen on July 6th. However, Boston will start reopening from July 13th. Among the many businesses that are resuming operations, casinos, gyms, theatres and museums are included. Cultural activities such as guided tours are also restarting.
Of course, the establishments will have to meet certain specific safety protocols, which include facilitating limited business capacity and time entries to control the influx of people. Here are some specifications:
- Tour buses and duck boats are required to limit their capacity to 50%.
- Professional sports will resume without spectators.
- Nightclubs and bars are required to remain shut.
- Nursing homes and assisted living facilities can show leniency regarding visitors only if no new Covid-19 positive cases have been reported among staff and residents within the 14-day quarantine period.
According to Baker, Phase 3 will run for long because of ongoing monitoring to curb the spread of the virus. Spikes will be strictly monitored. Baker added that he doesn’t want the state to move backward like many others that were forced to do. Urging the masses to avoid large crowds and wear face masks in public, the Governor said he hopes everyone can enjoy the Fourth of July holiday.
In a press release, Christopher Carlozzi, State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business in Massachusetts said businesses have suffered due to the prolonged shutdown in Massachusetts. Those businesses that have managed to survive are prepared to reopen. However, those that didn’t, had to chose permanently.
Meanwhile, Massachusetts health officials reported 51 more COVID-19-related deaths on the 2nd of July. Some of these cases are confirmed and some probable. This adds to the 8123 deaths the state has witnessed ever since the pandemic started. Additionally, 195 new cases are believed to be confirmed and probable, which pushes the total cases in Massachusetts to 109,300.
Currently, the numbers of hospitalised cases are at 681, which has dropped from 760 reported on the 1st of July. 113 patients are now in the ICU compared to 123 reported on Wednesday. However, the number of confirmed and probable cases have reached 5141 in long-term care homes, which is more than 63% of the total deaths in Massachusetts because of Covid-19.
Amid the pandemic-triggered chaos, over 100 school committees in the state are requesting full state reimbursement. In other words, they are asking the state to cover the costs related to protecting students and staff from the virus once the operations are resumed. These include masks, protective gear, transportation, extra teachers and staffers for students to practice social distancing.
According to Peter Demling, a member of the Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee, the state must ensure that the school committees have enough money to open schools safely. It should be noted that Governor Charlie Baker has already announced that he would allocate about $200 million from Massachusetts’ federal Coronavirus Relief Fund in order to reopen schools. However, whether this amount would be enough is still doubtful.
Additionally, over 29000 people in the state have filed claims for insurance related to regular unemployment from June 21st to June 27th. This is a low number compared to 1 million individuals who filed for the same insurance from March 15th to June 27th. Claims for pandemic unemployment assistance have seen a meteoric rise.