Thank you for everyone who checked in today. It is so wonderful that I can share my ups as well as my downs with all of you and know you have my back. And even more importantly, I want to make sure that if any of you are feeling alone or overwhelmed - know that there are so many struggling with the same issues and we are here for each other. I continue to worry that all of this “new normal” is having a detrimental effect of the psyche of many of us. If you are feeling this way, please don’t wait to speak with someone, and if you don’t have someone to chat with - I’m here or I can make sure I can confidentially get someone for you to speak with.
The death rate remained relatively level dropping a little with 129 people passing since the last report. In addition, only 669 new positives were reported today which was a ratio of 11% - which also remains relatively flat.
Hospitalizations dropped for the 5th straight day and those in ICU remained level as well. Again, all positive news.
I’m sure you all heard about Governor Baker’s announcement about his plan to begin to reopen Massachusetts. After today, he really should consider having me write his speeches. Notwithstanding that I had been given a heads up on what was going to be said, after the press conference I was totally confused and had to go back through my notes to piece it all together. I know there was a lot of info and moving parts but once he started throwing in all the color coded levels progressing and regressing - I was like ok, going to need to break this down a bit. As my lovely (and Trekkie) bride quipped: Charlie evidently set his 4 phases on stun. Ok, I guess you had to be there.
Provided that things remain the same -relatively flat and decreasing- then Phase 1 will begin on the 18th (fingers crossed). Since next week is phase one, does that mean we are currently in Phase 0? This will be the “Start” phase (goldenrod yellow) in which limited industries with the least face-to-face interactions will resume operations under severe restrictions. What exactly are these limited industries and what do they mean by “severe’ restrictions remains to be seen. Supposedly this will be coming out in more detail as the week progresses.
Phase two, titled “Cautious” (mint green?) will allow additional industries to reopen with restrictions and specific capacity limits. Again, no idea on what exactly these businesses or capacity limits may be.
Phase three (kelly green) also known as “Vigilant” will further loosen restrictions from the two earlier phases and will allow additional industries to resume operations under additional guidance. Again, no discussion on said additional guidance or additional businesses.
Then there’s phase four which Governor Baker has called the “New Normal” (Wedgewood Blue). This will be determined by the development of a vaccine or an effective treatment therapy that will hopefully enable people to settle into a new and regular routine. I kind of thought that when the vaccine or effective therapy was in place we would go back to “normal” normal. I have been saying that we are currently living in the “new normal” which we were supposed to be in only long enough to flatten the curve. Funny how these things morph and get spun while dealing with big government.
And like some sort of board game, the rainbow colored chart provided has arrows that point backwards to signify that if we get into a specific phase and we are not following the rules of the given phase or the reporting starts to tick back up, we will have to go back to the previous level. Do not pass GO, do not collect $200.
In addition to the four phases, all industries will need to implement a set of mandatory workplace safety standards that include social distancing, hygiene, staffing, and operation protocols, as well as required cleaning and disinfectant measures.
While much of the reopening process depends on the data, the Governor said, it also depends on whether everyone continues to social distance, wash their hands, and wear face coverings.
I realize what is trying to be conveyed, but it didn’t deliver the certainty and the confidence I was expecting out of the blue ribbon panel. I had really expected to see an actual plan, with real metrics, benchmarks, and specific industry and actionable guidelines. I think announcing the fact that at any given moment the “phase” can revert back to one of the previous ones does not provide for a lot of confidence within the business community or with the public in general. I think everyone realizes that if things don’t progress, adjustments will need to be made, but the uncertainty that this proposal puts forth is not what I was hoping for from a former CEO.
I am hopeful that this announcement was just a premature move in an attempt to get out in front of things and announce to the world that Massachusetts is moving in the right direction and to quell the rumors/fears of a never ending lock down. Fingers crossed that a real, well thought out, detailed and strategic plan is put forth in the coming days. I think that is critical for everyone to understand so we are able to plan our lives (and our businesses) accordingly.
I would like to give another shout out to Charles River Apparel for coming through again. Quickly becoming one of my favorite companies as they have given me another 1,000 masks to distribute throughout my district for those who need them. So, tomorrow my kids will go back to the dungeon to begin filling plastic bags so my fence can once again be adorned with masks for those who would like to stop by. (probably Wednesday) If you are part of a nursing home or assisted living facility or any other organization in need and you need a larger number, please PM me and I will do whatever I can to help you out.
Thanks again for all of your support and let's keep doing what we are doing. Light at the end of the tunnel and Phase 1 is only a week away.
Stay Safe and Don’t Forget To Smile!