Just the word, "re-opening" excites and scares us, doesn't it? On one hand, we're thrilled that we might be able to go out to different places, that were, until today, May 18, not considered "essential". But on the other hand, it's kind of scary. Will others be as safe as you? Are they practicing proper hygiene protocols? We aren't just people. We are essential workers, employees, employers, educators, students, business owners, service providers, , parents, children and consumers. We all want to protect our families and friends, we want the health risk to decrease, and we want to contribute to our economy.
The Phases of Re-opening
According to the website on mass.gov, the first phase will begin today.
Phase 1: Start Since this is the beginning, this is described as "limited industries resume operations with severe restrictions". There are four disclaimers to the four-phase plan.
-each phase will last at least 3 weeks and could be longer before moving to the next phase
-if public health data trends are negative, we may need to return to an earlier phase
-the Commonwealth of MA will partner with industries to draft Sector-Specific Protocols in advance of future phases (example: restaurant protocols will be drafted in advance of phase 2)
-if we work together to defeat COVID-19, we can proceed through each phase
So, right now we are in Phase 1, as of today. What does that mean? Who can be open? And can restaurants be open yet?
The social distancing will still continue, and gathering of no more than 10 people are still in effect. All travelers to MA are urged to self-quarantine for 14 days. On May 18, places of worship may open with guidelines (outdoor services encouraged). Also on May 18, Manufacturing and Construction businesses are joining the essential businesses.
On May 25, the following types of businesses will be allowed to open: Lab spaces, office spaces, limited personal services (pet grooming, car washes and hair salons) and retail businesses will be allowed remote fulfillment and curbside pickup. Outdoor/Recreation businesses that may open with guidelines on May 25: beaches, parks, drive-in theaters, some athletic fields/courts, outdoor adventure activities, fishing/hunting/boating, outdoor gardens, zoos, reserves and public installations.
It's been almost three months since the first "stay at home" order was issued. We're in the middle of May now. We didn't get to celebrate St. Patrick's Day, Easter, Passover or Mother's Day the way we are accustomed to. Along with holidays come the sad reality that our children were not able to visit with grandparents, who are at higher risk.
My 11-year old twin boys had their birthday in quarantine, and it was the first time they weren't able to see their grandparents, who live on Cape Cod. If you have school-aged children at home right now, that's not easy either. They would normally be at school, visiting and playing games with their friends, which they haven't been able to do. They're fifth graders, so they will be entering middle school next year. It's difficult for us to find the delicate balance between keeping them current on their academics, while giving them time to play outside, and balancing the home and work ratio as well. I'm pretty sure at this point our twins are really sick of seeing my husband and I, and would really like to see some of their friends instead of us.
Like most of Sofia's loyal patrons, I was thrilled when Emma announce we'd re-open for Curbside Pickup on May 4th. I work on Mondays & Tuesdays, and I help keep up with social media and the blog. Kate works Wednesdays through Saturdays. While our menu has been limited, most of the feedback we are getting on social media and in person has been positive, encouraging and inspiring. Sofia Ristorante patrons know how good the food is here. They know we use fresh ingredients, our Executive Chef has quality standards for every dish that goes out the door, and as Servers, Kate and I understand the personal touch Sofia Ristorante's clientele is used to getting. Although we're just doing Curbside, we want to be able to provide that for you.
So, with the current update from our governor, we are happy that more businesses will slowly begin joining us on Main Street in Hudson, and in surrounding areas, while we continue to practice social distancing, washing & cleaning our hands, wearing masks and gloves in public, and following the rules. As long as we all follow protocol, I look forward to us all advancing into each phase accordingly.
I've heard people make arguments, our economy or our health? Why do we have to choose? I would like to think that most of us would prefer to practice health safety, not just for ourselves, but those around us as well, and get the economy moving again, get people back to work, and re-open schools in the fall. I look forward to the Fall every year, not just for the weather, but all the activities associated with it - apple picking, the foliage, watching my kids jump into piles of leaves, the countdown of Halloween, and all the fun associated with September through November.
Thanks for listening to my rant. Let's all be safe out there. Let's be kind to one another. We will get through this. I believe we will all be able to see each other once again.