By Beth David, Editor
Indoor dining is back at Massachusetts restaurants as of this week, as the second half of the Phase II reopening continues. Nail salons, and some other personal services businesses have also been allowed to open, but all with restrictions.
Restaurants other services, including some retailers have been closed since mid-March to help stop the spread of COVID-19 amid a global pandemic that has taken the lives of nearly half a million people worlwide. In the US, more than 120,000 have died from the virus.
In restaurants, all tables must be six feet apart, there is a maximum of six to a party, and bar seating is still not allowed. Dance floors, pool tables, and other places where people gather in groups need to be removed or closed off.
Face coverings are required for servers and customers, but customers may take them off at the table. No buffets, drink stations or other communal areas can be open. Menus need to be disposable, and no salt/pepper shakers are allowed on the tables.
Nail salons and other close-contact services may also open, but wuth restrictions, such as not allowing people to wait inside, and keeping chairs and work stations six feet apart. Workers are required to wear gloves, gowns and safety glasses. Customers must wear face coverings.
Other close contact services that can open, with restrictions, include massage therapy, makeup salons/ application services, personal training, tattoo parlors, hair removal and tanning salons.
Retailers are allowed to open dressing rooms, but by appointment only.
All businesses are required to clean high-touch areas regularly.
Offices can also expand from 25% to 50% capacity, but employees are still being encouraged to work from home.
Massachusetts has had 107,439 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 6/23/20, and 7,890 deaths, with 4,970 in nursing homes; 782,854 indviduals have been tested.
The numbers are going in the right direction, with the number of cases going down and the numer of deaths or critically ill numbers also going down. The state has also significantly ramped up testing, including pop-up testing sites last week specifically for people who had attended rallies and protest marches.
The numbers are still holding steady, even with those individuals included.
Governor Baker said on Tuesday that he believed the low rate of transmission was due to the protests being outside, and in Massachusetts many people wore face coverings even at protests.
For more information on COVID-19 in Massachusetts visit https://www.mass.gov/covid.
The US has 2,302,288 cases, with 120,333 deaths as of 6/23.
To learn more about COVID-19 in the US, global case numbers, and trael recommendations, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
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