Phase Two of Governor Baker’s multi-step plan to reopen Massachusetts, after the mid-March shutdown, could begin on Monday, June 8.  The shutdown shot down our St. Patrick/Evacuation Day Parade, and it mostly continues even now.  Barber shops, beauty shops, and beaches are open already, provided that access and all personal gatherings are controlled and limited.  And make no mistake – “Social Distancing” when we knew very little about Coronavirus was absolutely necessary.

But right now, let’s start thinking about more reopenings, and how we can make it as real and enjoyable as possible here in South Boston.  Here are a few ideas:

First, last weekend, beach crowding and athletics were rare.  Other than a couple of volleyball nets and some “gentlemen” passing a football back and forth at M, games being played over our three miles of beachfront were virtually non-existent.  Other than small gatherings around individual blankets, there was good, 12-foot “Social Distancing”.  On weekdays so far this week, very few people have gone to the beaches at all.  So, let’s take down those barriers and cones along Day Boulevard.  Reopen Castle Island parking.  Cars of those driving to Pleasure Bay are being parked along Farragut and even farther away.  Those cones and barriers are ugly!  And they make it difficult for older folks and families with little children to actually get onto the beach or all the way out to Castle Island.

Second, let’s really encourage pleasant, enjoyable dining out of doors in South Boston as much as possible this summer.  Allow restaurants to serve at tables along sidewalks and in the parking lanes in front of their establishments all along Broadway.  Use disposable menus.   Perhaps Ed Flynn, our District 2 City Councilor, can help us get this permitted and set up.

Third, let’s also encourage outside displays of retail merchandise from the stores and small businesses on South Boston’s streets –  along both East and West Broadway, in and around Andrew Square, and over in the Seaport District (they’ve been hurt by COVID-19 as well).  Do this over a couple of June weekends and the Fourth of July to see how well it works.  Local small businesses (those that are still left) really need our support.  And we need the jobs provided by South Boston’s small businesses.

Sure, we have to obey the COVID-19 restrictions – Social Distancing, no large groups, and so on – no question about that!  But let’s enjoy South Boston’s reopening as much as possible this summer.   Take part in it!  Dine and shop South Boston!  Let’s go out!