Businesses look toward reopening
Hair stylists, manufacturers, churches, and pet groomers across Wareham are getting ready to reopen — with some changes for safety — following Governor Charlie Baker’s announcement of a four-stage reopening plan for the state.
Phase one, which starts May 18, includes a “safer at home,” plan which slightly loosens restrictions for residents, opens worship spaces, manufacturing, construction and some medical procedures, and provides a list of other industries that could open in a week.
Each of the phases will last roughly three weeks, though the state may see itself lingering or regressing if confirmed cases or deaths rise too quickly.
Businesses already deemed essential at the time Baker closed the economy can continue operations and manufacturers can begin work with social distancing or partitions between stations. Interior and exterior construction can begin again, with a Covid-19 Officer on site to monitor conditions.
Hospitals and community health centers can now provide high-priority preventative care, treatment for high-risk conditions, pediatric care. Places of worship will open at 40% capacity, with social distancing and masks required and outdoor services encouraged.
Starting on May 25, laboratories, pet groomers, car washes, beaches, parks, outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves, and public installations and drive-in theaters can reopen. Other industries can open with conditions -- offices at 25% capacity, hair salons and barbershops only for haircuts, retail stores and libraries with curbside pickup only, and some athletic fields and courts.
Employers should accommodate older employees or those with underlying health conditions. Customers and workers should report violations of safety standards to local Boards of Health for enforcement purposes. Boards of Health would set fines at the town level, and can enforce those after multiple visits and infractions, Lieutenant Governor Karen Polito said.
The state will look to dramatically ramp up the number of daily tests through the end of the year. Another goal is for the state to hit a 5% positive test rate (for context, the current rate is between 8 and 15%).
The state will not pursue universal testing, because the “cost to deploy at scale is prohibitive,” Baker said.
To track its numbers, the state will release a weekly dashboard, which will use a traffic light system to show the status of six indicators: the positive test rate, number of deaths, number of hospitalized patients, healthcare system readiness, testing capacity, and contract tracing.
Many of the recommendations for individuals remain the same: cover their nose and mouth in public, wash hands and sanitize surfaces often, keep six feet of distance where possible, watch for symptoms and stay home when sick.
Officials are working to allow daytime summer camps in Phase 2 of the plan, and residential summer camps in Phase 3 of the plan.
Town Administrator Derek Sullivan declined to offer specifics on the town’s plans for reopening, including whether beaches will open on May 25, or whether the library will offer curbside pick-up.
“We will review the guidance and make the decisions that we feel are best for the safety of our community,” Sullivan said.
Shelley Stormo, the executive director of Verilife, said that adult-use marijuana sales will begin again on May 25. However, she is still waiting on additional guidance from the state to determine what that reopening will look like.
Stormo said that customers will most likely need to make appointments and pre-order goods online, as she is focused on maintaining a reduced capacity for customers and employees both inside and outside the building.
Stormo is also working with Wareham officials and police on a reopening plan.
Customers should visit Verilife’s website, www.verilife.com, for up-to-date information before their visit.
TarraDean Studio in Onset is set to reopen on Monday, May 25, but according to stylist Apryl Rossi “it’s definitely going to be a little bit different” for the next couple weeks.
During the first phase of the reopening, clients will be able to get their hair cut, but only through appointments. They also won’t be allowed to wait inside the building before their appointment, or have their friends or children wait for them inside during their appointment.
Stylists may see one client at a time, and must keep six feet away from other stylists and their clients. Rossi said that TarraDean Studio is big enough to accommodate about three to four stylists at a time, while still staying six feet apart.
Rossi said that these changes will alter the social aspect of the studio, which often serves people getting ready for weddings, proms, and other events. She added that in the past, clients would often show up early to chat with stylists and others at the studio before their appointments.
“We’re a family, our stylists and our clients,” Rossi said.
While haircuts, colorings, and blow drying will be allowed, other services like facial waxing, manicures, pedicures, and beard trimming won’t be allowed to resume during phase one.
As the studio’s only nail technician, Rossi described the limitation as “heartbreaking” because she specializes in pedicures for medical purposes such as ingrown toenails. She said she was disappointed about not being allowed to resume this service, since her clients might experience foot pain, or even have trouble putting shoes on without it.
Rossi said that TarraDean Studio has always placed an emphasis on cleanliness, and will follow the strict guidelines set in place for phase one.
After one client leaves, their chair will be sanitized, and their cape will be put in a bin to be laundered. All trimmers, clippers, and other equipment will also be thoroughly cleaned to ensure safety. Time will also be given to let the next client know that it is their turn to come in, whether that be through a text, call, or simply waving them in from their car.
To book an appointment at TarraDean Studio, call 508-295-2535.