Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Massachusetts, US, to further ease COVID-19 business and movement restrictions from July 6. Disruptions likely to persist.

  • Alert Begins: 05 Jul 2020 09:00 AM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 14 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Massachusetts (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Business disruptions likely

Summary
Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker announced the state will begin Phase 3 of its economic reopening plan of lifting coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions from July 6. The measure will take effect statewide, except in Boston, which will move to Phase 3 July 13. Previously announced operational requirements, including limiting capacity, ensuring social-distancing measures, and enhancing sanitation procedures, will remain in place. Authorities have also maintained the requirement for all residents and visitors to wear a facemask in public places when social distancing measures are not possible.

Under Phase 3, capacity limits for gatherings have been eased. Indoor gatherings will be limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, with a maximum of 25 people. Outdoor gatherings are limited to 25 percent capacity in an enclosed space, with a maximum of 100 people. Businesses and services previously authorized to operate may continue as before. From July 6, the following establishments and activities may also reopen and resume:

 

  • Movie theaters and outdoor performance venues

 

  • Museums, cultural and historical sites

 

  • Fitness centers and health clubs

 

  • Certain indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact

 

  • Professional sports teams, under the authority of league-wide rules, may hold games without spectators

 


Since July 1, travelers entering Massachusetts from Connecticut, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, New York, or New Jersey are not required to self-quarantine upon arrival. However, travelers from the rest of the country are still required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Transport and business disruptions may persist even as restrictions are eased. All measures are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
Several states in the US have implemented recovery plans to lift restrictive measures introduced in response to the outbreak of COVID-19, which was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO) March 11. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, previously relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions and operating protocols.

Advice
Confirm appointments. Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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