Indoor dining can resume next week in Massachusetts; state launches new testing website

Coronavirus

BOSTON (WPRI) — More businesses and services in Massachusetts will be able to resume or expand their operations next week as the state moves into the next step of Phase 2 of Gov. Charlie Baker’s reopening plan, the governor announced Friday.

Beginning on Monday, June 22, restaurants will be able to reopen their dining rooms for indoor service, retailers can open their dressing rooms (by appointment only), close-contact personal services can reopen with restrictions in place, and offices can allow up to 50% of their workforce to return, according to Baker.

In order for that to happen, those businesses must follow the sector-specific safety protocols, create a COVID-19 control plan, and complete a self-certification.

Reopening Massachusetts: Guidance for Restaurants » | Guidance for Close-Contact Personal Services » | Guidance for Other Industries » | COVID-19 Control Plan Template »

Baker said there won’t be a capacity limit for restaurants, but tables must be spaced at least six feet apart.

Restaurants were able to start offering outdoor dining on June 8 as the state entered Phase 2.

Update: Mass. restaurant owners say outdoor dining has boosted business »

While a decline in public health metrics such as new cases and hospitalizations allowed the state to move forward in Phase 2, Baker urged people to continue following guidance from health officials such as wearing a mask in public places, maintaining social distancing and staying home if you’re sick.

“We should keep in mind that COVID doesn’t take the summer off. We cannot and should not become complacent,” he said.

“We’re reopening and containing COVID, but it only works when everyone does their job to slow the spread,” Baker added. “We’re asking everybody to keep up the fight and it’s up to each of us to keep doing the work that limits the spread and keeps us moving forward.”

On Friday, the Mass. Department of Public Health reported 30 more deaths related to COVID-19, bringing the total to 7,800, along with 152 newly confirmed cases and 76 new probable cases.

Full breakdown of Friday’s COVID-19 data (Mass.gov) »

Baker also announced Friday that his administration has launched a revamped testing website which includes an interactive map of testing locations and schedules, information on who should get tested, and what to do if you test positive.

In response to the large rallies held recently, the state set up more than 50 pop-up testing sites so attendees could get tested on Wednesday and Thursday. Health and Human Secretary Marylou Sudders said nearly 16,000 tests were conducted between the two days.

Baker said he expects to release more information next week on the procedures for people visiting Cape Cod and other Massachusetts destinations.

For more information on COVID-19 in Massachusetts, visit Mass.gov, call 211 or text COVIDMA or COVIDMAESP (Spanish) to 888-777 to receive text notifications.

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