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Massachutopia: We Still Can't Get Haircuts or Go to the Beach, but We Might Have Sites Where We Can Shoot Heroin Soon

Like we did with re-legalizing a round of golf (with major restrictions, of course) Massachusetts narrowly avoided being the last state in the union to begin to lift the quarantine rules. (The ball's in your court, Connecticut.) 

Source -  Governor Charlie Baker’s four-phase plan began to take on more details Monday morning as his COVID team, led by Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, delivered its report on how businesses could begin operating under new guidelines. ...

PHASE 1: Start

May 18

According to the announcement made Monday, essential businesses can continue to operate while manufacturing businesses, construction projects and religious organizations will be allowed to begin preparing for operation. They will have a week to meet new operating guidelines.

May 25

The following week, on May 25, a significant portion of businesses will be allowed to begin the process of reopening under phase 1.

  •  Laboratory and life science facilities
  •  Offices, excluding City of Boston: work from home strongly encouraged, businesses should restrict workforce presence to <25% capacity< li>
  •  Hair salons and barbershops: by appointment only
  •  Pet grooming: by appointment only
  •  Car washes: exterior 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, including recreational marijuana.

Beaches, parks, drive-in theaters, some athletic fields and zoos will all be allowed to reopen with restrictions starting Monday, May 25.

Each industry will be required to comply with safety regulations and guidelines before it is allowed to open, however, Baker says the restrictions will be self-enforced. Businesses will have a week to bring themselves into compliance with the new regulations.

That's my state. Once again, leading from the back. We're like that kid in every group who doesn't laugh at a joke until he's looked around first to make sure everyone else is laughing before he joins in. The cool kid that is New York decided to start lifting restrictions, then that makes it OK for us to. 

The damned thing is, we're so accustomed to bowing to the authority of the People's Republic - from long before this virus hit - that even these tiny baby steps have us all feeling like Benjamin Martin right now. 

We long ago accepted that the state and local governments can't do things like fix the roads, but they'll mobilize like SEAL Team 6 to ban plastic shopping bags. Even in the best of times, they're great at writing rules and regulations for business owners while hiring their relatives for government jobs and bumping their own pay. And it was just a few years ago they were trying to get the Olympics to come to Boston, while we were being treated to the video of commuters walking up the train tracks because more than half of all MBTA workers banged in sick the day after a blizzard. 

So the fact that "essential" businesses will be able to open soon feels like a major win. So much so that we're not going to question who gets to decide what constitutes an "essential" business. Or what anyone who's trying to feed their families thinks of their livelihoods being considered "non-essential" by the people we elected. All we know is that we're seven days away from being able to go back to the barbershop, recreate outdoors and even perform that notorious pandemic-spreading activity that's infected millions around the world, get our cars washed. 

But just to prove Massachusetts is not the domineering, autocratic regime it might sound like, we are not without our freedoms. 

Source - Massachusetts lawmakers are weighing legislation that would legalize supervised injection sites for drug users.

The Committee on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Recovery on Friday favorably reported out a re-drafted version of legislation that would legalize the sites.

The legislation would authorize the Department of Public Health to establish at least two sites … to provide a hygienic space, clinical monitoring of participants by health care professionals or trained individuals, confidentiality for participants, harm reduction consultation, sterile injection supplies, and access to referrals to additional treatment and recovery services.

See? The Commonwealth's not all bad. Pretty soon you'll have the government's permission to drive your cleaned and polished car to your house of worship and, if this bill passes, boot horse under supervision. In some places you can't get plastic drinking straws, but you can get all the plastic syringes your heart and your arteries desire. The City of Somerville might be cancelling all events through the end of 2020, but rest assured, you'll be able to ride that Smack Train, hygienically and with confidentiality. The solons reserve the right to shut down your salon anytime they want. But if you're depressed about it, just come on down to one of our convenient supervised injection sites and let your troubles float away on a river of that sweet Brown Sugar. With our compliments. 

Welcome to the place I've lived my entire life. Where we think car washes are dangerous but we'll help you shoot opiates in the name of safety. Where we fight a pandemic by threatening people with arrest for trying to walk a beach and plan to give people with crippling drug addictions more drugs instead of the rehab they desperately need. It's Bizarro State.