When Governor Charlie Baker unveiled his reopening plan Monday, he made it clear Massachusetts will take a slow and steady approach to get the economy started again — based on input from dozens of doctors, scientists, public officials, and business leaders across the state.
Among those consulted was the Massachusetts High Technology Council, an organization of senior executives representing technology companies and research institutions. Council board member Steve Pagliuca told Jim Braude on WGBH News’ Greater Boston, that the Governor's precautions are necessary.
“You know, the governor is in a tough situation. ... This requires patience. And as he saw, the indicators are not all green yet; [the] number of hospital deaths, they're stabilizing, but it's not totally there. So, he's taking a cautious approach and you can always fast make that go faster. It's hard to make it go slower if you start out too quickly,” Pagliuca, also the co-chairman of Bain Capital and co-owner of the Boston Celtics, said.
He explained the key to the plan’s success will be how well Massachusetts residents abide by the rules.
“Really, the worst thing you can do is going into crowds, not wearing a mask. You're going to see another recurrence. So far, people have been pretty good in Massachusetts. At least that's been my view,” Pagliuca said. “And I hope our citizens will be responsible…. It’s not good to be mad about the plan. It's good to be compliant. If we're compliant, the plan is going to go quicker. If we're not compliant, you’re going to have rolling shutdowns.”
Governor Baker also announced that office spaces will be permitted to open with 25% capacity starting May 25, excluding Boston, which will open June 1. But, as Pagliuca mentioned, for some people, going back to work will look very different when the time comes.
“Even within the office, we're encouraging people not to have meetings in larger groups in four or five. You want to really do the same social distancing, wearing masks inside the office…. It's going to be less people and less interactions and maybe larger meetings will have to be on Zoom even if you’re in the office,” he said.
When he was asked about President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, Pagliuca said he’d like to see cooperation among all levels of government and industry.
“I just hope all those in government can cooperate with the private sector and with the academic sector and scientists that we've got to get this thing solved. It's clearly the worst crisis. I never thought I'd see something like 2008, but this is, you know, has aspects of 2008. But even worse, because it's a medical disaster as well as a financial disaster,” Pagliuca said.