Town of Brookline Shares New State Guidelines for Reopening Businesses
BROOKLINE — Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Health Director Dr. Swannie Jett would like to share the newest state guidelines for local business owners who will be planning to reopen their businesses.
On Monday, May 18, Gov. Baker announced the first stage of the state’s reopening plan. The plan will allow some industries to reopen immediately and others on Monday, May 25. All industries allowed to reopen will need to adhere to heavy restrictions.
“Businesses that are permitted to re-open in this first phase of the state’s plan will be expected to adhere to all of the relevant health and safety protocols, and the Town of Brookline will work to support those efforts whenever possible,” Town Administrator Kleckner said. “The wellbeing of workers and customers will be our top priority, as it has been throughout this crisis, and we’re hopeful that this first phase will prove successful in paving the way toward a return to normalcy someday.”
Business owners who plan on reopening under Governor Baker’s new order are required to adhere to a new set of standards that will apply universally to all workplaces and are designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers.
“The governor’s action yesterday is the first of many steps we’ll need to collectively take toward returning to normal life,” Dr. Jett said. “The steps we’ve taken so far have gotten us to this point, but there’s still a lengthy road ahead of us and it’s essential that everyone continue to cover their faces and practice social distancing in order to continue building on the progress we’ve made and keep moving forward.”
All set standards should be supplemented by sector-specific safety protocols and recommended best practices. Sector-specific standards are forthcoming and will be announced by state officials.
Mandatory Safety Standards for the Workplace
Those who wish to reopen their businesses under Phase 1 must abide by the following safety standard protocols set forth by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center for workplaces.
- Everyone inside a workplace establishment, including employees, customers and vendors, must remain six feet apart. Businesses should provide work place protocols and signage for safe social distancing and wear face coverings.
- All employees should follow basic hygiene recommendations. Frequent hand washing should be practiced and the workplace should conduct regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, etc.
- All employees should be trained in social distancing and hygiene protocols. Anyone found to be sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19 SHOULD NOT report to work and plans should be developed for what to do if illnesses occur.
- Lastly, businesses shall establish and maintain a cleaning and disinfecting protocol specific to their industry. Cleaning and disinfecting must be performed after a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19.
Before a business reopens business owners must develop a written control plan outlining how the workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period. While the control plans do not need to be submitted for approval, they must be kept on the premise and made available during an inspection or outbreak. The control plan template may be found online here.
In addition to the COVID-19 Control Plan template, businesses must complete and sign the following checklist, and display the checklist in an area within the business premises that is visible to employees and visitors.
Purchasing Hygienic or Protective Supplies for the Workplace
To return to work, businesses must require masks and coverings for all employees, provide hand washing supplies and capabilities and sanitize high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout the work site.
Hygienic and protective supplies can be found through vendors here. Those who are manufacturers of hygienic and protective supplies and wish to be added to the vendor list can do so by contacting the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team here.
Additional restrictions may be implemented for specific businesses, types of businesses or municipalities in order to prevent local outbreaks from spreading. This information will be shared when it becomes available by state officials.
Industry-Specific Reopening Eligibility and Dates
Industries eligible to reopen on May 18 and the industry-specific restrictions that they must follow are:
- Construction sites
- Manufacturing sites
- Places of worship, where occupancy will be limited to 40 percent of the building’s maximum permitted capacity.
Industries eligible to reopen on May 25 and the industry-specific restrictions that they must follow are:
- Office spaces, where occupancy will be limited to 25 percent of the maximum occupancy level or of the organization’s typical occupancy as of March 1, 2020. This excludes Boston offices, which will reopen with the same restrictions on Monday, June 1.
- Hair salons and barber shops
- Car washes
- Pet groomers
- Retail businesses for remote fulfillment and curbside pickup only.
- Outdoor recreational activities and businesses, such as beaches, parks, campgrounds, outdoor gardens, drive-in movie theaters and zoos.
Download and Print Mandatory Flyers
What About Town Hall and Other Town Buildings?
A working group led by the Town of Brookline’s Human Resources Department and Department of Public Health has been working over the course of several weeks to identify and develop safety protocols in anticipation of re-opening Town Hall and other facilities to employees — and eventually to residents.
That work is continuing and has been informed by the guidance of state leaders, and further information will be made available and plans to reopen Town Hall as they are finalized.