As of this writing, Gov. Baker has announced that there will be readout from the state’s Reopening Advisory Committee on May 18 regarding how and when Massachusetts businesses will be allowed to reopen. While no specifics about the timing of business openings have been given, Gov. Baker stated on Monday, May 11, that there will be four phases to the reopening:
Phase 1—“Start”— industries which have little face-to-face interaction
Phase 2—“Cautious”—more industries open up
Phase 3—“Vigilant”—loosen up Phase 1 and Phase 2 restrictions
Phase 4—“New Normal”
It’s becoming increasingly apparent that some of North Attleborough’s stores, factories, and other places of business will open next week. If the process which Massachusetts uses to reopen the economy is similar to what is being used by neighboring states, then before businesses reopen, they must agree to follow very vigorous steps for personal protection:
- All employees and customers will be required to wear face masks.
- Plexiglas shields and partitions may have to be used to protect work spaces.
- Social distancing, that is maintaining six feet of space between all people, will be mandatory.
- Some businesses may be required to adjust their floor space, dining tables, etc. to facilitate social distancing. Restaurants will almost certainly be treated differently, based upon feedback from other states.
- Frequent sanitizing and cleaning of work spaces will be mandatory.
These steps are going to be facts of life as we get back to the “new normal”, and will be in place until a coronavirus vaccine is developed. The North Attleborough Board of Health will be required to make periodic visits to local businesses to ensure that the guidelines are being met, and that the danger to employees working in or people visiting businesses is minimized.
North Attleborough’s town government will do all possible to assist local merchants as things start to open up. Residents and businesses can count on town government to do these things:
- A local newsletter will be published and made available to all residents via social media and local newspapers. It will pass along any “new news” on safety regulations, government programs being put in place to assist merchants, and local features specific to North Attleborough.
- We will publish a weekly list of new re-openings of local businesses, so that anyone who reads the newsletter will have up-to-date information on which stores and businesses are open.
- The Downtown Revitalization Committee will resume meetings, and continue the projects we were working on before the virus: the Banner Program, The Farmers Market, Monthly Downtown Art Nights, etc.
- We will resume planning for a downtown block party, to be tentatively planned for late September.
North Attleborough is re-opening for business. Some residents have shared with town government their ideas for events and activities moving forward, and all input is welcome. If you would like to share your thoughts about re-opening activities, the best way to do so is to contact Lyle Pirnie, the town’s Economic Development Coordinator. You can reach Lyle via phone at 774-362-0701, and via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please look for this newsletter every week, and pass along feedback.