Reopening Chelsea Phase II and Other News

Hello Chelsea Businesses, Non-Profits, and interested Friends of the Chamber:

Pat yourselves on the back, you made it to a new month!  A month in which there are important items to discuss.  There is a lot to unpack here, so I apologize for the length, but it is critical. Therefore, I am sending this out now via email in order to be timely.  Most of it will also be available on our website soon.

  1. This coming Monday is a big day…kind of.  On this past Monday afternoon, Governor Baker signed an Executive Order expanding the phased re-opening of the economy of Massachusetts, and by extension, Chelsea.  It provided some valuable detail, but also left some questions.  Phase II will commence on Monday, June 8th.  Of note, if complying with general and sector-specific requirements for re-opening, then the following industries/entities are permitted to open:
    1. Public libraries
    2. Childcare
    3. Day camps, including sports and arts camps
    4. LIMITED: post-secondary/higher education/vo-tech/trade or occupational schools
    5. Outdoor recreational activities:  Pools, spray decks, playgrounds, mini golf, go-karts, batting cages, climbing walls, ropes courses
    6. Outdoor historical spaces, no functions and no guided tours
    7. Golf facilities including outdoor driving ranges
    8. Funeral homes:  increased capacity to permit 40% occupancy for one service at a time within the facility
    9. Driving schools and flight schools
    10. Non-athletic classes in arts/education/life skills for youths under 18 years of age, only in groups of fewer than 10 persons
    11. Personal services provided at a fixed place of business or at a client location
  1.        Services involving no close contact (photography, window washers, individual tutoring, home cleaning, etc.)
  2.        Services that do involve close contact (massage, nail salons, personal training for individuals or for no more than 2 persons from the same household, etc.)
    1. Professional sports practice and training programs – no inter-team games and no public admission.
    2. LIMITED: organized youth and adult amateur sports activities and programs.  No contact and no games or scrimmages, and no indoor facilities limited to youth programs.
    3. Hotels, motels, inns, and other short-term lodgings, if general requirements and specific preparations are satisfied.  NO events, functions, or meetings.
    4. Warehouses and distribution centers
    5. LIMITED: Retail stores, including stores in enclosed shopping malls
    6. LIMITED:  Restaurants providing seated food service prepared on-site and under retail food permits issued by municipal authorities.  OUTDOOR dining only at this point…or there will be once we get more information.

  1. Phase III and Phase IV re-openings will be listed on our website.
  2. Preparations and Accommodation for Outdoor Dining Service
    1. Outdoor dining ONLY beginning on Monday, June 8th.  However, individual municipalities can push back this date and be more restrictive.  Other cities, such as Somerville have done this.  I have seen no signs with my communications with city officials that Chelsea intends to slow down the re-opening of restaurants.  However, there is much yet to be figured out on the City level.
    2. Indoor table service will be authorized at a later date (Phase II, part II) contingent upon a positive progression of public health data.
    3. Outdoor table service” shall mean service that is provided outside the restaurant building:  sidewalk, patio, deck, lawn, parking area, or other outdoor space.
    4. Outdoor table service may be provided under awnings, table umbrellas, or other shelter from the elements provided that at least 50% of the perimeter of any covered dining space must remain open and unobstructed by and form of siding or barriers at all times.
    5. A city or town may approve requests for expansion of outdoor table service.  Prior to such approval, the chief executive, as established by charter or special act, shall establish the process for approving such requests.  We do not yet know the process that the City of Chelsea will require to move forward with outdoor dining, though any such approval may be acted upon immediately upon filing a notice thereof with the City Clerk without complying with any otherwise applicable recording or certification requirements.  That means that this approval process by-passes the more onerous requirements for the Outdoor Dining permit already on the books.  It is a good bet that for restaurants seeking outdoor dining on public property, such as sidewalks, a Sidewalk Permit from the Department of Public Works would be required.  And it is unknown whether the City will charge or waive the fee for such a permit.
    6. Outdoor service of alcohol: The Governor’s order of two days ago said that the local licensing authority (LLA), meaning the Chelsea Licensing Commission, MAY grant approval to holders of permits to service alcoholic beverages to permit outdoor alcohol service as it deems reasonable and proper, and issue an amended license to existing license holders, without further review or approval by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) prior to issuance.  This would expire on November 1st or the date that the Governor’s order is rescinded.  However, the ABCC then issued clarification that the ABCC has its own guidelines for outdoor alcohol service which must be met before the LLA can extend its permission.  SO all is not as easy as it seems.  These ABCC “guidelines” contradict much of the procedural streamlining set forth in the Governor’s order.  So are they guidelines from the ABCC?  Or are they requirements?  The ABCC’s communication implies that they are requirements and that, “LLAs must continue to follow the ABCC’s guidelines issued in 2015 for the approval of outdoor seating…”  I have heard that there may be an expedited legislative fix to this conundrum today.  So, we await any action on Beacon Hill, and then we hope to hear from the Chelsea Licensing Commission and other City officials as to whether the authority that the LLA MAY grant approval will result in a process where the LLA WILL grant approval.  To be clear, the City of Chelsea is not required to allow outdoor alcohol service, no matter the importance it plays in contributing dollars to save Chelsea’s restaurants.
  3. With so many business and office premises being unoccupied or inactive during the last three months, there is concern over mold and Legionnaire’s Disease and other issues caused by stagnant water left for so long.
  4. If your industry is not listed in any of the Phases I – IV and you don’t know when you can re-open, please fill out this form and submit it electronically to the State.  The Secretary of Housing  Economic Development assured me that each and every form will be read and acted upon.  Also use the same form if you have any comments about the Commonwealth’s Re-opening of Massachusetts.
  5. If you are unclear about the General or Industry-specific requirements for re-opening your business or office, please contact me.  Alternatively, we will be having a series of Zoom Webinars–hopefully scheduled for next week–to address questions and content around re-opening.  Stay tuned for a separate email/event invitation on that.
  6. Lastly, look for a separate email regarding the FY21 Workplace Safety & Training Grant from the Department of Industrial Accidents’ Office.  It has some big attachments that might cause the email to bounce based upon your particular email settings.  I will upload them to our website so you can just click a link.  This may be especially attractive to our food manufacturers and other industrial operators.

Thanks for reading.  Thanks for your patience as we await additional info from the Commonwealth and from the City.  And thanks for your resilience in being #ChelseaStrong.


Rich Cuthie, MBA, MSF, IOM

Executive Director

Chelsea Chamber of Commerce

308 Broadway

Chelsea, MA 02150

617.884.4877 x100