Somerville phasing in reopening on more cautious timeline than state

SOMERVILLE, MASS. (WHDH) - The City of Somerville announced Monday that they will be reopening their economy on a more cautious timeline than Gov. Charlie Baker’s four-phase plan.

RELATED: Baker reveals businesses that can resume operating under Phase 1 of state’s reopening plan, issues ‘safer-at-home’ advisory

“Some elements of the State plan will be enacted immediately, some will be modified, and some will undergo further assessment to make sure workers and residents are being properly protected from a potential increase in the transmission of the coronavirus — and that the local economic recovery is better insulated from a potential second surge of the disease,” a city spokesperson wrote in a press release.

Somerville started phasing in non-essential construction Monday and plans to allow medical providers to restart services May 25, in accordance with the state’s timeline.

Curbside retail will also begin May 25 as allowed in the four-phase plan.

All additional reopening steps remain on a temporary hold as the city assesses the state’s plan, meaning places such as hair salons, houses of worship, and playgrounds will remain closed.

Mayor Joseph Curtatone says they are slowing down the reopening of business to “make sure each element of our reopening can be implemented successfully.”

“We have been told repeatedly by experts that we have to be extremely careful about large gatherings of people and to limit close contact as much as is humanly possible,” he continued. “We must also recognize we are a long way from having this disease under control. In a dense urban environment, we need to give careful consideration to every action we take. So we are performing extra diligence to ensure workers and worshippers can return safely to those activities.”

The city says they’ll release further specifics about the local reopening in the coming days.

“Ultimately this is not a choice between public health and the economy,” said Mayor Curtatone. “Our economy will not thrive if the health of everyone is not adequately protected. The State has given us a lot to work through, and our aim is to do so responsibly but also quickly. We also will be working with neighboring communities to try to stay on the same page within our urban core. We must recognize that what works right now for the Berkshires is not necessarily right for metro Boston.”

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