Amid ‘Positive Trends,' Gov. Baker to Announce Phase 2 Reopening Date Saturday

The earliest the second phase could begin is Monday

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With all of the data trending in the right direction, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to announce when Phase 2 of the state's reopening will begin on Saturday.

But he wasn't giving any hints on Friday.

"Tomorrow, we'll announce plans for Phase 2," Baker said. "It's good to see people have an opportunity to get back to work, either remotely or back at the place they used to call their office. And it's especially encouraging to see people meet with their grandparents and parents at long-term care facilities."

Governor Charlie Baker will announce when Phase 2 of the state's reopening will begin on Saturday.

He spoke after touring LabCentral in Cambridge, a shared laboratory space where companies have transitioned their operations to address the coronavirus. He said the rate of positive tests is down 80% since the beginning of April, and the number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 has seen a dramatic decrease in recent weeks.

"We've been seeing positive trends for weeks," Baker said. "We're making the right kind of progress."

But he also continued to warn residents that they need to continue practicing social distancing and good hygiene, wearing face coverings and staying home when they feel sick if they want the state to continue reopening.

"What got us here was our commitment to a set of behaviors and activities," Baker said. "We have to remain vigilant with respect to all of that."

While some more businesses were able to reopen Monday in Massachusetts, others are looking ahead at future phases.

The next phase in getting Massachusetts back in business, including reopening child care centers, could start as soon as Monday, which would be the minimum of three weeks from the start of Phase 1.

Baker released guidelines earlier this week for businesses opening in Phase 2.

Child care centers, which currently are open only to children of emergency workers, will need to screen staffers and youngsters for symptoms of illness before allowing them in each day.

Centers must use only one entrance, stagger drop-off schedules and try to avert close contact between children.

At summer camps, attendees will have to stay in their groups, counselors won’t be able to move among groups, and field trips will be banned for now.

Retail stores that open their doors in Phase 2 must limit occupancy, require workers and customers to wear face masks, and — for groceries and pharmacies — create special hours for customers older 60, who are at higher risk of serious illness from the coronavirus.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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