Window Into The State House

Baker’s reopening balancing act   Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday unveiled his Phase One reopening plan for Massachusetts – and to no one’s surprise it takes a cautious approach towards getting the economy restarted while maintaining restrictions to avoid another surge of coronavirus cases. The Globe’s Matt Stout and Tim Logan and SHNS’s Colin Young (pay wall) have the general Phase One reopening details.   Here’s the full report from the administration. CBS Boston and WBUR also have good summaries about what can and can’t reopen — and the numerous safety restrictions attached to the administration’s orders. Also, see our post immediately below on how specific industries fare, as well as general-interest reopening items. The reaction of the medical community to Phase One? No surprise: Caution. From the Globe: “Scientists say Baker’s reopening plan is sensible, but still concerning.” Other reactions are below.   
  Industry-by-industry Phase One reopenings (and non-reopenings)   Rather than wading through the Baker administration’s Phase One reopening report to find the industry or subject matter that most interests you, here are some stories dealing with specific industries and subject matters of interest. Take your pick. From WBUR: “Mass. Restaurants Will Open Back Up In ‘Phase 2.’ When Is That? No One Knows” From MassLive: “Massachusetts to allow for expanded ‘curbside’ retail starting May 25 as part of Gov. Charlie Baker’s coronavirus reopening plan” From WCVB: “Massachusetts beaches to reopen Memorial Day, May 25 with restrictions” From “Hair salons and barbershops will be allowed to open — by appointment only — on Monday, May 25” From “Here’s the specific reopening guidance for office work in Massachusetts” From MassLive: “Massachusetts reopening plan for recreational marijuana calls for curbside delivery to start May 25” From the BBJ: “Many Boston construction sites can reopen today — including the South Station tower”  From the Globe: “Here’s what the Mass. reopening plan says about colleges, K-12 schools, and day care”  
  The inevitable mixed reactions …   We were tempted to headline this post “Winner and Losers” but opted for old reliable because the reactions really are mixed. In any event, here are some stories covering the mixed-reactions gamut regarding the governor’s reopening announcement yesterday – from WBUR and Wicked Local and the Globe and MetroWest Daily News and the Berkshire Eagle. And here are some more specific reactions. From MassLive: “’There are key areas that require more focus’; Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey responds to state’s reopening plan.” … From CommonWealth magazine: “On church reopening, a muted ‘amen.’” … And from MassLive again: “Massachusetts nurses double down on calls for more safety standards in hospitals.”  
  ‘Man in the Middle’   CommonWealth magazine’s Michael Jonas writes that Gov. Charlie Baker’s moderate instincts and “penchant for cautious incrementalism” served him politically well in the years leading up to the coronavirus crisis – and they appear to be serving him well during the crisis, up to and including yesterday’s Phase One reopening announcement.But the Herald’s Joe Battenfeld isn’t happy with the governor’s balanced middle-man approach. Not at all.  
  Moderna’s shares soar after it reports positive early-stage test results for vaccine   We’re talking very early-stage test results here. Still, the BBJ’s Allison DeAngelis has the details on Cambridge-based Moderna Inc’s announcement yesterday that its coronavirus vaccine candidate showed positive effects in boosting antibodies in 25 patients. The New York Times has more on Moderna’s “glint of hope to a world desperate for ways to stop the pandemic,” a glint of hope that also sent the firm’s stocks soaring yesterday.  
  UMass Amherst announces staff furloughs and buyouts amid ‘severe financial pressures’   It’s not only small colleges facing financial challenges due to coronavirus crisis. MassLive’s Benjamin Kail reports UMass Amherst plans to implement staff furloughs and offer buyout packages as the university deals with “severe financial pressures.” How severe are the pressures? The UMass athletic director and football and men’s basketball coaches have agreed to 10 percent pay cuts, reports Matt Vautour at MassLive. NCAA Division 1 coaches taking pay cuts? This must be serious.  
  Report: State revenues could take a $6B hit   Speaking of severe financial pressures, amid all the recent surge and partial reopening news, don’t forget the state’s budget needs addressing by Beacon Hill lawmakers – and it’s not looking good. SHNS’s Matt Murphy reports on the Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation’s latest projection of a possible state revenue hit of $6 billion.  
  Decision day: Voters in today’s special elections urged to wear masks and have patience   Town and city clerks on the South Shore and Cape are urging voters heading out to elect a new state senator in Plymouth and Barnstable today to wear their masks, bring their own pens and expect lines at the polls where social distancing measures will be in place, Joe DiFazio reports in the Patriot Ledger. Meanwhile, Elizabeth Roman of MassLive reports voters choosing a state senator in the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire District will also see plenty of changes when they head to the polls.   
  Health care system eyes its own reopening   After incurring huge financial losses during the coronavirus crisis, many hospitals and community health centers are once again starting to offer non-emergency services that were suspended earlier this year to make way for COVID-19 patients, reports SHNS’s Katie Lannan. Along the same lines, from the Globe’s Andy Rosen: “MGH begins to shift some resources as COVID-19 cases decline.”