Reopening Continues Across New England After Coronavirus Shutdowns

A look at what is about to reopen across the region's six states

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As New England states continue their efforts to reopen the economy following the coronavirus shutdowns, a number of industries are scheduled to resume operations in the coming days.

Here's a look at some of what is about to reopen:


Offices in Boston are scheduled to begin reopening on Monday, one week after they began reopening in the rest of Massachusetts.

Mayor Marty Walsh released guidelines and operational recommendations Thursday for public and private businesses, employers and landlords ahead of Boston's reopening.

The framework, which focuses on social distancing, good hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting, staffing and operations, builds on specific statewide workplace safety standards and incorporates guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other industry associations.

"Our first and foremost priority in making available these guidelines is to empower businesses and employers to act now and put in place safety precautions and protocols before beginning to reopen," Mayor Marty Walsh said. "In the City of Boston, we recognize the size of our commercial sector and the unique role we play in the region's working and commuting patterns. That's why it's so important that as a city, we collectively do everything we can now to institute the necessary safeguards that will allow businesses to reopen in a safe and healthy way when they are ready to do so."

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said restaurant owners could get more information on reopening guidelines as soon as Friday.


The task force on reopening New Hampshire’s economy approved recommendations this week related to bingo, basketball and allowing driving instructors back behind the wheel.

The proposed rules for charitable gaming includes limiting the number of seats at tables set up for poker, blackjack and other games as well as reductions in overall occupancy. Players would not be required to wear masks, but it would be highly recommended.

At indoor facilities for sports including hockey, basketball, soccer and tennis, face coverings would be recommended for staff, players or guests coming within 3 feet of each other. Team or group sizes would be limited to 10 people, including coaches.

The driver’s education rules call for continuing with online classes. Both drivers and students would be required to wear masks while on the road, and cars would be cleaned between sessions.

None of the approved recommendations set target dates for reopening. They’ll next be considered by public health officials and Gov. Chris Sununu.

A New Hampshire man who was near death with a COVID-19 infection is going home after getting an experimental treatment.


Youth sports programs will be allowed to resume in Rhode Island starting Monday, though there won’t be any league play, tournaments or other organized competitions for now, Gov. Gina Raimondo said Thursday.

The Democrat said the focus is on resuming practices and scrimmages under new guidelines to limit transmission of COVID-19. That means children, adults and coaches will have to wear face masks, and play would be limited to stable groups of 15 children or fewer.

Official competitions could follow in July if coronavirus cases continue to wane in the state, Raimondo added. Adult recreational sports will also be allowed to resume under the same rules, she said.

The governor announced earlier this month that summer youth camps can open at the end of June.

State officials released guidelines Thursday for the reopening of barber shops, nail salons, tattoo parlors and other personal services on Monday.

As in other states, stylists and customers alike will have to wear masks, reservations will be required and capacity will be limited.

The storefronts are among a wide range of businesses, including gyms and fitness studios, slated to reopen Monday as part of the second phase of the state’s reopening plan.

Restaurants, which are currently allowed to offer outdoor dining, takeout or delivery, will also be allowed to serve customers indoors, though only at about 50% capacity.

Restaurants will reopen with strict rules allowing for outdoor dining only in Rhode Island and New Hampshire as Vermont begins reopening retail shops for the first time in nearly two months.


Gov. Ned Lamont said this week that he hopes the tribal casinos will agree to delay their planned, partial reopenings on June 1, reiterating his concerns Tuesday about possibly spreading the cononavirus, especially among older people. A team of state officials, led by the Department of Consumer Protection commissioner, the acting Department of Public Health commissioner, and the Department of Economic and Community Development commissioner, toured Mohegan Sun on Tuesday. The group plans to tour Foxwoods Resort Casino, possibly later this week, to review their plans to protect employees and visitors.

“I’m going to get a report back and we’re going to give Mohegan Sun some constructive observations about what we saw as we try to get closer to a safe resolution of this,” said Lamont, who has suggested he might pull the tribes’ liquor licenses or warn patrons of the potential risks before they enter the casinos, located in sovereign nations. The tribes contend they’re ready to open safely.

The 2020 Boston Marathon was canceled amid the coronavirus pandemic. There will be virtual events spread out over a week, but no one will physically cross the finish line.


The second phase of the state’s reopening plan is set to begin Monday. This phase allows for more restaurants to reopen, though restaurants in southern Maine and Androscoggin County will still be restricted from allowing dine-in customers.

More beaches and state parks are also scheduled to be able to reopen on Monday.

Some restaurant owners in parts of Maine are voicing their frustrations after Gov. Janet Mills delayed the dine-in option in the state's reopening plan.


Hair stylists and barbers are back in business Friday as part of the latest round of business reopenings in Vermont from COVID-19 shutdowns.

The hair professionals must follow a number of restrictions. Customers also must book appointments in advance and remain at a safe distance from other customers.

Meanwhile, Gov. Phil Scott is expected to announce Friday that he is increasing the size of allowable gatherings from 10 to 25, guidelines for the reopening of gymnasiums, cleaning services and museums.

Vermont Gov. Phil Scott ordered all summer fairs and festivals canceled, but he also allowed some close-contact businesses to begin reopening.
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