February COVID-19 Rundown: Reviewing the Rollouts and Rollbacks
Although Cupid’s likely to remain quarantined this Valentine’s Day, we at least have some cause for celebration as more vaccine cocktails become approved and positive case numbers continue to fall in Massachusetts. However, we’re not out of the woods yet, which is why some COVID-19 restrictions continue to remain in place. While vaccines are dominating the news cycle, we could all use a refresher on what types of operations are permitted for struggling small businesses. Let’s take a look at the latest in COVID-19 rollouts and rollbacks.
COVID-19 Capacity Limitations Remain on the Menu
In January’s COVID-19 Rundown, we discussed Governor Baker’s introduction of further capacity limitations and gathering limits. These statewide restrictions included a 25% capacity limit for indoor businesses and a commercial and private gathering limit of ten people indoors and 25 outdoors. Since the introduction of this order, it has been extended twice, with the most recent extension lasting until Monday, February 8th. To determine the full depth of the governor’s order, read the official COVID-19 Order documentation, but yet another extension of these limits is not out of the question.
Governor Baker Lifts COVID-19 Curfew
On January 25th, Governor Baker rescinded the mandatory nightly closing period imposed on businesses. No longer will businesses need to close at 9:30 PM, as originally ordered back in November. The additional changes accompanying this revision include:
- Restaurants may seat guests after 9:30 PM.
- Restaurants and liquor stores can resume sales of alcohol after 9:30 PM.
- Retail sale of cannabis and cannabis products can occur after 9:30 PM.
While the capacity limits remain in place, the lifting of this ban can hopefully allow small businesses an opportunity to increase their patronage.
Phase 2 COVID-19 Vaccinations Are Underway
The first group of Phase 2 of Massachusetts’ vaccination rollout is now eligible to receive their shots. Included in Group 1 are any residents 75 years old and up. This phase of the vaccine rollout is estimated to last until the end of March and will eventually incorporate the remainder of groups in this phase, including:
- Group 2: Residents 65 years old and up, individuals with two or more medical conditions that increase their risk of severe illness, and staff or residents of low-income and affordable senior housing.
- Group 3: Educational staff, sanitation/public health workers, volunteers, food pantry workers, transportation staff, court system workers, convenience store workers, retail staff, food service employees, grocery store staff, utility workers, and several other workers.
- Group 4: Individuals with one medical condition that places them at risk of severe illness.
Phase 3 is reserved for the remainder of the general public, which is estimated to be eligible in April. However, most staff members of small businesses stand to soon benefit upon approval of Group 3 of Phase 2, meaning the risk to your team will drop significantly over time.
The latest in COVID-19 rollouts and rollbacks are a promising sign that we’re approaching a point where more restrictions can be lifted. Meanwhile, as the vaccine rollout slowly gains momentum, you still have to be wary of the effects of COVID-19, as there remains a marathon ahead of us. Think about re-pivoting as the economic landscape recovers, and don’t let up on your marketing efforts. At Vision Advertising, we’ve recognized the importance of upkeeping our clients’ social media presence and public relations throughout the pandemic. To benefit from these same services and more, contact us today.