Public Health Updates and New State Guidelines to Reopening Businesses

Winthrop Public Heath Update: 223 total cases confirmed; 24 deceased, 156 recovered and 43 in isolation

Town Manager Austin Faison and Public Health Director Meredith Hurley would like to update Winthrop residents on the latest information involving the COVID-19 pandemic. The town has received notification from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) of ZERO additional residents affected by COVID-19. 

'What Do I Need to Do to Reopen My Winthrop Business?'

On Monday, May 18, Gov. Baker announced the first stage of the state’s reopening plan. The plan will allow some industries to reopen immediately and others on Monday, May 25. All industries allowed to reopen will need to adhere to heavy restrictions.

Public health officials will continue to monitor the numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the state daily; a certain threshold for the decreased number of cases must be maintained during each phase. Should there be an increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, state officials will order the return to the prior phase.

If there are no significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases in the state over the course of at least three weeks, state officials will tentatively move on to Phase 2. Information about which businesses will be able to reopen and the restrictions they must follow will be shared when it becomes available.

"Over the next week, we will take the first of many steps to reopen the state," said Town Manager Faison. "With this announcement, we expect to see an increase in business operations throughout the town and we would like to remind all business owners, employees and customers of the importance of following the strict protocols and guidance outlined within the plan in order to protect that safety of each and every member of the community."

Business owners who plan on reopening under Governor Baker's new order are required to adhere to a new set of standards that will apply universally to all workplaces and are designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers.

All set standards should be supplemented by sector-specific safety protocols and recommended best practices. Sector-specific standards are forthcoming and will be announced by state officials.

The Winthrop Board of Health will work with the Division of Labor Standards to enforce these restrictions if an complaint is made against a business or organization.

To a report a business in violation of these restrictions, please contact the Division of Labor Standards at 508-616-0461, x9488 or safepublicworkplacemailbox@mass.gov.

Mandatory Safety Standards for the Workplace

Those who wish to reopen their businesses under Phase 1 must abide by the following safety standard protocols set forth by the Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center for workplaces.

  • Everyone inside a workplace establishment, including employees, customers and vendors, must remain six feet apart. Businesses should provide work place protocols and signage for safe social distancing and wear face coverings.
  • All employees should follow basic hygiene recommendations. Frequent hand washing should be practiced and the workplace should conduct regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, etc.
  • All employees should be trained in social distancing and hygiene protocols. Anyone found to be sick or showing symptoms of COVID-19 SHOULD NOT report to work and plans should be set into place for if illnesses occur.
  • Lastly, business shall establish and maintain a cleaning and disinfecting protocol specific to their industry. Cleaning and disinfecting must be performed after a worker is diagnosed with COVID-19.

Before a business reopens business owners must develop a written control plan outlining how the workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period. While the control plans do not need to be submitted for approval, they must be kept on the premise and made available during an inspection or outbreak. The control plan template may be found online here.

In addition to the COVID-19 Control Plan template, businesses must complete and sign the following checklist, and display the checklist in an area within the business premises that is visible to employees and visitors.

Purchasing Hygienic or Protective Supplies for the Workplace

To return to work, businesses must require masks and coverings for all employees, provide hand washing supplies and capabilities and sanitize high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout the work site.

Hygienic and protective supplies can be found through vendors here. Those who are manufacturer's of hygienic and protective supplies and wish to be added to the vendor list can do so by contacting the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team here.

Additional restrictions may be implemented for specific businesses, types of businesses or municipalities in order to prevent local outbreaks from spreading. This information will be shared when it becomes available by state officials.

Industry-Specific Reopening Eligibility and Dates

Industries eligible to reopen on May 18 and the industry-specific restrictions that they must follow are:

Industries eligible to reopen on May 25 and the industry-specific restrictions that they must follow are:

Outdoor recreational activities and businesses, such as beaches, parks, campgrounds, outdoor gardens, drive-in movie theaters and zoos.

Download and Print Mandatory Flyers

Safer at Home

Residents are now asked to stay at home unless going to an open business or facility. Those who are 65 or older, or have been identified as high risk individuals should they contract the virus are asked to stay home unless absolutely necessary. Restrictions on gatherings of more than 10 people remain in effect.

Should residents leave their homes for any reason, they are asked to take the following steps to help prevent the transmission of respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19:

  • Wear a face mask or cloth face covering when social distancing is hard to maintain.
  • Practice social distancing at all times by remaining 6 feet away from others when you must leave your home for trips to open businesses or facilities.
  • Wash your hands, and clean and disinfect all high touch surfaces, such as doorknobs and countertops.
  • Stay home if you’re sick and avoid close contact with others.

More information on the advisory can be found here.