June 22, 2020  |  COVID-19; Employment & Employee Benefits; Insights

Massachusetts Enters Second Step of Phase 2 Reopening Plan

By: Matthew Sweet

Step 2 of Phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan, “Reopening Massachusetts,” begins today, June 22, 2020.  This step ushers in the following key changes, among others:

Open Spaces

Businesses and other organizations may increase the occupancy within their office space to no more than: 50 percent of (a) the maximum occupancy level specified in any certificate of occupancy or similar permit, or as provided for under the state building code; or (b) the business or organization’s typical occupancy as of March 1, 2020.  The prior limit was 25%.  Office spaces continue to be subject to preexisting safety requirements.

Indoor Dining at Restaurants

Indoor dining at Massachusetts’ restaurants may resume, subject to compliance with official safety standards, meaning the restaurants must, among other things:

  • Maintain a 6-foot distance between tables and all other tables any high foot traffic areas, unless separated by a protective barrier;
  • Limit parties to 6 people per table;
  • Prohibit seating at the bar, although bar areas may be re-configured to accommodate compliant table seating;
  • Prohibit eat-in service to standing customers – all customers must be seated; and
  • Utilize only single-use, displayed, or electronic menus.

Close Contact Personal Services

Various businesses providing “close contact personal services” may reopen, subject to compliance with official safety standards. Close contact personal services include hair removal, massage and other body work therapy and treatment, skin care, nail care, hair replacement and other non-removal services, makeup application, personal training (1-on-1 or 2 clients from sale household, appointment only), tanning, and tattoo and body piercing services. Close contact personal services businesses must adhere to the following safety standards, among others:

  • Require customers to make an advance appointment;
  • Close waiting areas and ask customers to wait outside or in cars until their appointment;
    Maintain a log of workers and customers to support potential contact tracing;
  • Arrange work stations and install visual markers to ensure and encourage social distancing of 6 feet or more;
  • Require face coverings for all customers and workers, unless an individual is unable to due to a medical condition or disability;
  • Require workers to wear gloves, gowns or smocks, and glasses or goggles; and
  • Post visible signage throughout to remind customers and workers of hygiene and safety protocols.

Retail Dressing Rooms

Step 2 of Phase 2 also allows for the reopening of retail dressing rooms, by appointment only, provided the retailers comply with industry-specific requirements.

Rich May continues to monitor the progress of Massachusetts’ actions with respect to the COVID-19 outbreak, the related economic crisis, and the phased reopening of the Commonwealth’s economy and will provide additional updates as they become available.

Disclaimer: This summary is provided for educational and informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Any specific questions about these topics should be directed to attorneys Jeffrey Loeb, Frank Gaeta, J. Allen Holland, or Matthew Sweet.