COVID-19 Weekly Roundup: Eighth Installment
There was very little in terms of developments coming from the Baker-Polito Administration last week. Active COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts have plateaued, and until they rise, Phase 3 reopening will continue to proceed as outlined. Despite the lack of new programs or regulations provided by the governor last week, a few events are occurring in the state that have a possibility of disrupting some business operations. Read further to discover the COVID-19 response of some communities within Massachusetts.
Somerville Delays Start of Phase 3 Reopening
The rest of the state began Phase 3 of the reopening process on July 6rd, with Boston joining on July 13th. However, Somerville – who had originally delayed the Phase 3 transition until June 20th – has now delayed the next phase again. The new proposal is for Somerville to start Phase 3 on August 3rd at the earliest, due to rising new cases in the metro area and apprehension over Massachusetts’ contact tracing program. Somerville is New England’s most densely populated city, so Mayor Joseph Curtatone is justifiably wary of allowing some businesses to reopen.
Massachusetts’ Summer Destinations See Rise in Cases
Popular summer destinations in Massachusetts’ have seen a rise in COVID-19 cases in recent weeks, including the islands Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard. Local health officials are estimating that most of the cases stem from out-of-state visitors, according to WBUR. This unwelcome news could be cause for a rollback of the phased reopening if the cases continue to rise, so businesses need to prepare for that event.
Massachusetts Teachers’ Unions Recommend Phased Reopening of Schools
In last week’s COVID-19 weekly roundup, we mentioned Massachusetts’ school districts would begin submitting their proposed plans for reopening. According to MassLive, teachers’ unions are proposing a 4-phase reopening approach, mirroring the state’s plan. Specifically, the proposed phased reopening is broken down as follows:
- Phase 1: Allow teachers, substitutes, and other school personnel uninterrupted time to prepare for the resumption of classes, and model a plan deemed appropriate according to the district.
- Phase 2: Allow personnel to meet students and families in person or remotely to discuss the new health and safety protocols and perform wellness checks.
- Phase 3: Begin classes – either in person, remote, or a hybrid of the two – and focus on the first six weeks to evaluate health, safety, and learning potential.
- Phase 4: The labor-management committee and the community – including students and parents – will determine the path forward based on an assessment of the first six weeks.
The unions are also calling for updated air filtration in schools and increased personal protective equipment accessibility.
Beyond the exceptions noted, the Phase 3 reopening continues to progress with little interruption. However, noting the increase in cases in certain parts of the Commonwealth, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities that we could experience a rollback of Phase 3. To mitigate another lockdown, you can do your part by enforcing the social-distancing and face mask rules in your business. To learn how best to prepare your business during these uncertain times, contact us at Vision Advertising for a consultation.