Reopening MA: What it means for the creative community

On May 18, Governor Baker announced a four-phase plan for reopening the Massachusetts economy based on public health measures. While some retailers and businesses will start to reopen in a limited capacity on May 25, we know that it will not be safe for many arts and cultural organizations and venues to reopen their spaces until Phase 3 or Phase 4.

We know you’re struggling to reimagine the future while also trying to figure out when your work, your organization, and the creative community can reopen, restart, and begin to recover. As a statewide arts and culture advocacy organization, MASSCreative is here to help you make sense of the MA reopening plan and direct you to some easy, effective actions you can take to support the creative community.


Main take-aways from the Reopening Plan

Massachusetts’ arts and culture sector will be among its last to reopen, with many organizations unable to safely reopen until Phase 3 or 4. In the meantime, organizations and individuals must follow public health directives to ensure that reopening proceeds as planned. 

Reopening Phases and what it looks like for arts and culture organizations:

Phase 1 (May 18): Zoos, outdoor gardens, public installations, and drive-in theaters
Phase 2: Some outdoor performances, maybe some outdoor venue
Phase 3: Museums, performance venues (concert halls, theaters)
Phase 4: Large venues (arenas, stadiums, night clubs—in process of defining large venues)

All employers, employees, and individuals must adhere to collective safety standards and practices. Each sector, industry, and business must follow guidance from state administration. Both statewide and sector-specific practices will be provided. Businesses will only be eligible to reopen if they comply with all mandatory safety standards. Before reopening, all businesses must develop written COVID-19 control plans.

Each phase will last a minimum of three weeks and could last longer. Only when public health data standards are met will the next phase begin. If we assume that no negative trends in the data cause returns to prior phases, the earliest the phases would begin would be May 18 for Phase 1, June 8 for Phase 2, June 29 for Phase 3, and July 20 for Phase 4. 


MASSCreative Recommendations



Given the requirements of the reopening plan, it’s clear the creative community will need to collectively advocate in order for arts and culture to remain a vital part of everyday life in MA.

Here are MASSCreative’s recommendations and asks to federal, state, and municipal decision-makers:

  • Include the creative sector in developing discipline & venue-specific guidelines so that organizations can adequately apply the reopening mandates to their work.

  • Access to PPE, sanitation supplies, and contact tracing protocols to keep our artists, staff, and communities safe.

  • Access to financial supports and small business assistance to protect the creative sector through full reopening.

  • When it is safe for the creative sector to reopen and gather in large groups, we will need Massachusetts and its cities and towns to coordinate statewide & municipal messaging campaigns to rebuild consumer confidence


Reopening Resources

Victor "MARKA27" Quinonez's mural on Exchange Street in Lynn, MA


Take Action

With most arts and cultural organizations unable to reopen to Phase 3 or 4, it’s clear that the creative community will need significant resources in order to recover during and after these reopening phases. Our members of Congress play a significant role in ensuring any emergency recovery loans or programs make their way to cities and towns in MA.

On Mass Cultural Council's May 20 Town Hall Forum, Congressman McGovern emphasized the importance of the federal HEROES Act in addressing the creative community's needs.

Contact your Member of Congress to make sure the HEROES Act gets the attention it deserves:


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