Slowly and cautiously, Braintree is reopening for business with guidance from the state and town.
In the Braintree Chamber of Commerce’s third COVID-19 update, business owners learned about the governor’s reopening plan and when businesses can reopen. The meeting was held by video conference on May 21 and led by Chamber Chair Kim Kroha of Baker, Braverman & Barbadoro, P.C.
Here’s what you need to know:
Four phases for reopening
State Senator John Keenan and Margaret LaForest of the Mass. Office of Business Development previewed the reopening plan’s four phases. Advancing to the next phase will require a positive trend in public health metrics.
All businesses and service providers must comply with mandatory safety standards for adequate social distancing, hygiene protocols and cleaning. In addition, specific sectors should follow recommended best practices.
Sectors eligible to reopen in phase 1 are construction, manufacturing, office spaces, laboratories, hair salons and barbershops, car washes and pet grooming.
Businesses can use this Covid-19 control plan template to self-certify their compliance with the safety guidelines and display this compliance attestation poster to the public.
There will be no drop-in inspections, but employers and employees can report unsafe work conditions, which will trigger an inspection.
Under the “Safer at Home” advisory, people at high risk should continue to stay home except for essential errands.
Public health officials anticipate another surge of COVID-19 cases that will coincide with the annual flu season. “The fall will be very challenging,” said Sen. Keenan.
Facial coverings are required
Massachusetts residents are required to wear a facial covering in public if they cannot maintain six-foot social distancing.
Mayor Kokoros encouraged the public to adhere to the requirement. “The mask is a huge deterrent to the passage of this disease, which is highly contagious,” he said, adding that the last thing a business owner wants is to be shut down.
If an employee or customer cites a medical or religious reason for not wearing a mask, the employer or business owner may need to make an accommodation.
Wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing are 95% effective in stopping the spread, said Senator Keenan, citing public health officials.
Collect visitor information for contact tracing
The state requires businesses and service providers to collect and maintain contact information for customers and employees. For example, they can use credit card transactions, security records or appointment books.
If someone tests positive for COVID-19, the town’s public health officials will use this information to conduct contact tracing, as they have been doing throughout the pandemic. Anyone exposed to someone with Covid-19 is advised to self-quarantine for 14 days.
Daily testing of employees for COVID-19 is not feasible or required.
Update from the Mayor
Mayor Kokoros said Braintree’s reopening plan will follow the state’s, and his goal is to help businesses reopen safely, protect their employees and customers, and avoid another spike in cases that would set back reopening.
The town plans to allow for outdoor dining this summer, and restaurant owners should contact the town now to apply for a license. The mayor said restaurant owners are frustrated they still must pay mandated liquor liability insurance and that the state should seek a remedy.
Town Councilor David Ringius said the council will work with the town and state delegation to support reopening. He has heard frustrations from restaurants and training facilities regarding the pace of reopening.
About the Braintree Chamber
The Braintree Chamber of Commerce is here to advocate for local businesses, from large companies to sole proprietors. Sign up for membership or follow Braintree Chamber’s Facebook page for the latest blog posts and news.
For more information
Need emergency child care? Braintree’s designated emergency provider is The Goddard School.
Need help procuring PPE and sanitizer for your business? Contact Kate Naughton, Town Hall, at 781-794-8100.
Questions about unemployment? Reach out to Ron Iacobucci, MassHire South Shore, at 617-745-4000 or www.masshiresouthshorecc.com.