BROOKLINE — The Select Board, Town Administrator Mel Kleckner and Public Health Director Dr. Swannie Jett wish to share information about the second phase of Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase approach for reopening the state and the mandatory guidelines for businesses allowed to reopen this week.
On Saturday, June 6, Gov. Baker announced the second phase of the state’s reopening plan. The plan will allow additional industries to reopen Monday, June 8. All industries allowed to reopen will need to adhere to state and local restrictions.
Today marks “step one” of Phase 2. Industries eligible to reopen on Monday and the industry-specific restrictions that they must follow are:
- Restaurants, which will be allowed to offer outdoor dining options for patrons, in addition to their takeout and delivery services.
- Many restaurants already have local authorization to have outdoor seating as part of their Select Board license and are able to do so as early as today, in accordance with the state’s restaurant safety standards. Restaurants that wish to add outdoor seating should contact the Town’s Senior Licensing Clerk, Tiffany Souza at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Town of Brookline will provide further guidance for restaurants not already permitted to provide outdoor dining at a later date to be announced. The Select Board will discuss the issue at its meeting on Thursday, June 11, and again at its scheduled meeting on Tuesday, June 16.
- Retail spaces, which will be allowed to have limited amounts of in-store customers. This guidance does not apply to Farmers’ Markets.
- Golf facilities, including information about on-site restaurants and pro-shops, which will be allowed to reopen in Phase 2.
- Operators of Lodging, including hotels, motels and other lodging businesses.
- Outdoor recreation, including parks, athletic fields, open space and outdoor education programs. The Brookline Parks and Open Space Division Phased Reopening Plan identifies which amenities and activities will be allowed during each phase. The full implementation of Phase 2 will take a couple of weeks to realize as staff works to sanitize equipment and public restrooms, reinstall playground, tennis and basketball components and order/install new signage. Phase 2 of the reopening plan includes the following:
- Tennis courts will be open for doubles play.
- Basketball courts will be open.
- Playgrounds will be open, though toys from home will not be allowed.
- Water play/splash pads will be open.
- Public restrooms will be open.
- Athletic fields will be available to permitted groups for drills and practices where social distancing can be maintained with supervision and a COVID-19 plan.
- Pickup and organized games remain prohibited.
- All of the above scenarios are permitted only with groups of 10 or less, with masks/face coverings in use and/or social distancing in practice.
“The progression to Phase 2 of the state’s plan is a significant positive step, but is by no means cause to let our guard down and stop taking necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. Jett said. “We will remain vigilant in monitoring case data locally, and will work collaboratively with the state throughout the reopening to ensure we’re mitigating risk as much as possible.”
Town of Brookline Offering Small Business Grants
The Town of Brookline is now accepting applications for its Small Business Relief Grant Program, which will provide grants of up to $15,000 to eligible Brookline businesses impacted by COVID-19. Applications will be processed on a weekly basis for as long as funds are available. The first round of applications will be reviewed at 5 p.m. on Friday, June 12.
To apply online, click here.
After submitting your application, you will be notified by email within one week about whether your application meets the initial program requirements. Applicants that meet the initial program requirements will receive a phone call to schedule and coordinate the pick-up of a signed copy of your application along with required supporting documentation.
For more information about the program, including supporting documentation, click here.
For general questions about the grant program, contact Economic Development Planner Meredith L. Mooney at email@example.com or call 617-264-6478. Additionally, business owners are invited to attend weekly virtual town hall meetings, which feature question and answer sessions with subject matter experts. The virtual town halls are held every Thursday at 9 a.m., and are accessible here.
Mandatory Safety Standards
General, mandatory safety standards that all businesses must adhere to include:
- Requiring employees, vendors and patrons to practice social distancing (maintaining six feet between each other), establishing protocols to allow for social distancing among employees and providing signage to promote the practice.
- Requiring face coverings or masks for all employees, and providing physical partitions taller than a standing worker where physical distancing is challenging, if necessary (i.e. cashiers).
- Providing hand washing opportunities and supplies throughout the workplace to ensure that employees are able to frequently do so.
- Regularly disinfected high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs and restrooms throughout the workplace.
- Providing training for employees on social distancing and hygiene.
- Requiring that any employee who displays symptoms related to COVID-19 stay home from work.
- Establishing a plan for employees who contract COVID-19, including cleaning and disinfecting protocols, and a return-to-work plan.
More information about the mandatory safety standards can be found here.
Additional Guidance for Businesses
Hospitals and community health providers will also be allowed to offer less-urgent preventative care, such as teeth cleanings, vision services and certain elective non-urgent procedures, starting Monday. This does not include elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs.
Step two of Phase 2 will allow for the reopening of additional businesses, including nail salons, massage therapy, tattoo parlors and tanning salons. Restaurants will also be allowed to offer indoor dining on a restricted basis as part the next step of Phase 2.
Baker said Saturday that public health data will determine when Phase 2 moves from its first step to its second step, with a determination coming over the course of the next week.
The State’s decision to move forward with Phase 2 reopenings was in part due to the positive trend of COVID-19 testing rates. According to the State’s Dashboard of Public Health Indicators dated Friday, June 5, three of the six indicators are currently trending positive, which also includes the number of patients with COVID-19 in hospitals and the State’s testing capacity.
More information, as well as the industries that reopened in Phase 1 and those specific reopening guidelines, can be found here.
Public health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 case data in the state daily, and the data will serve as a guide for progressing through additional phases of the re-opening plan. Should there be an increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, state officials will order the return to the prior phase.
Additional restrictions may be implemented for specific businesses, industry sectors or municipalities in order to prevent local outbreaks. This information will be shared when it becomes available.
Residents are still urged to stay home as much as possible in order to limit their risk for exposure to the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Those who are 65 or older, or have been identified as high risk individuals should they contract the virus are asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people remain in effect.
Should residents leave their homes for any reason, they are asked to take the following steps to help prevent the transmission of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:
- Wear a face mask or cloth face covering when social distancing is hard to maintain.
- Practice social distancing at all times by remaining 6 feet away from others when you must leave your home for trips to open businesses or facilities.
- Wash your hands, and clean and disinfect all high touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and countertops.
- Stay home if you’re sick and avoid close contact with others.
The Town of Brookline has had 370 total cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began, including two new cases confirmed today. Case totals are updated as they become available online at BrooklineCOVID19.com.