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Massachusetts Implements New Guidelines for June 8 Start Date for Phase 2 of Economic Reopening

On June 6, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced that Phase 2 of the Four-Phase Reopening Plan (known as the “cautions” phase), will start on June 8, 2020. Phase 2 will be divided into two parts, with certain businesses allowed to reopen on June 8, while others will be permitted to reopen at an unspecified date so long as the trend of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases continues to decline.

As Massachusetts moves into Phase 2, Gov. Baker’s administration has released additional guidance for businesses that will be allowed to reopen. Under Executive Order No. 35, effective June 1, 2020, business and other organizations that are included within Phase 2 were permitted to open their physical workplaces and facilities to workers for the purpose of preparing to reopen.

In addition to the general Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards addressed in our previous alert, some Phase 2 businesses and organizations will also be required to comply with Sector-Specific Rules to address the particular circumstances and operational needs of those specific workplaces. So far, the Sector-Specific Rules for businesses that can open in the first part of Phase 2 include:

Gov. Baker also reinforced the guidance for office spaces in Phase 2, continuing to mandate that employees work from home if feasible to do so. Office spaces are still subject to capacity requirements through Phase 2 and may only allow 25 percent of workers to be in the office at one time.

The Baker administration announced it expects the second half of Phase 2 will include reopenings for indoor table service at restaurants and close-contact personal services such as nail salons, skin care, massage therapy, and personal trainers.

Along with identifying business permitted to reopen in Phase 2, the June 1 Executive Order provided more information regarding businesses that are not slated to reopen until Phases 3 and 4. See updated guidance regarding the timing and requirements for businesses to reopen.

For more information and updates on the developing situation, visit GT’s Health Emergency Preparedness Task Force: Coronavirus Disease 2019.