It is going to be a busy few weeks for Public Health Nurse Sabrina Firicano and the Everett Board of Health as they prepare to work with businesses all over the city to prepare for a safe and orderly opening next week.
Firicano said they have a lot of guidelines to get in place for businesses like beauty salons, which have been chomping at the bit to open in Everett for weeks. Those businesses will be able to re-open in a limited way on May 25. For now, Firicano said they will continue to work with churches, construction and manufacturing businesses that were able to re-open this week.
“We work with ISD inspectors and they are the enforcement agents for the Board of Health and distribute the messages we send out,” she said. “There has been messaging on churches, but in regard to helping them open up. I think a lot of beauty shops thought they could open this week, but the inspectors are good at telling them they need to remain closed for another week. We want to make sure they have everything in place for customers going in and for employees to be trained in what to do so everyone is safe and we open safe and don’t get an increase in cases.”
She said they will be monitoring cases carefully and tracing any new cases locally and with the state regarding openings. If a case is traced to any particular business, the Board of Health will have protocols in place that include tracing who has been in the business.
“The inspectors are going to be going out and doing that education and enforcing these places,” she said.
There will also be some restrictions on retail stores and beauty shops as well, including no more than 10 people in the business and also keeping a six-foot distance between customers. She said that will mean fewer people in businesses at one time, much like is done now at grocery stores and corner stores.
Masks will also be required, as signage and a suggestion that places operate on an appointment system.
“We think the best way to go about beauty salons is to work on appointments,” she said. “You call or text the shop when you arrive and wait in your car until it’s your turn. When they call you in, you go in and have the service performed and then leave. That will prevent customers from sitting around and waiting.”
She said restaurants are in the phased plan, but they will probably be further out in the phased plan, but there are opportunities to work with the warm weather for earlier openings.
“The weather is going to be on our side,” she said. “We’re going into the summer months and there’s a lot more potential to do things outdoors, but I think we have a little ways to go before we see indoor restaurant seating.”
Funeral Homes and wakes will likely remain in the 10 person or under restriction, and wouldn’t likely see any lifting of that, she said, until Phase 2 or 3.
“We have to see what happens in Phase 1 and analyze what the data or numbers show us,” she said. “We need to see what works well and what didn’t work and improve on it as we go into Phase 2.”
Meanwhile, City Hall has an aspirational goal of opening for limited operations on June 1.
On May 18, the following businesses were eligible to start:
•Essential businesses stay open and continue to operate.
•Houses of Worship
•Hospitals and community health centers who attest to specific public health/safety standard can provide high priority preventative care, pediatric care and treatment for high risk patients
On May 25, the following businesses are eligible to start:
•Laboratory and life sciences facilities.
•Offices, excluding those in the City of Boston. Work from home strongly encouraged, and businesses should restrict workforce presence to <25% maximum occupancy.
•Hair salons and barbershops by appointment only.
•Pet grooming by appointment only (curbside pet drop- off and pick-up).
•Car washes exterior car washing allowed.
•Recreation and outdoor with guidelines.
•Other health care providers who attest to specific public health/safety standards can provide high priority preventative care, pediatric care and treatment for high risk patients.
•Retail remote fulfillment and curbside pickup.
Cases Slowing Down
A robust network of local and state contact tracing has been rolled out this week in Everett, with the state effort combining with efforts between Firicano and School Nurses.
At the same time, new cases have slowed down this week, as they have in other surrounding communities as well. As of Tuesday, there were 1,451 positive, confirmed cases, and that was up by 96 over one week before. That is a major slowdown from the 50 or so cases a day that came in during the surge a few weeks ago.
There are 24 residents that have died of COVID-19 complications.
Firicano said new guidelines from the state recommend that every contact of an infected person be tested.
Contact tracers from the state’s Partners in Health efforts are contact tracing positive cases with the City’s effort as well. That, Firicano said, is the only way for now the outbreaks will be contained.
If people and their contacts follow the 14-day quarantine, it will only speed up the phased opening for businesses and the economy.