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Nahant welcomes Phase 2 with open arms

By Elyse Carmosino | June 10, 2020

NAHANT — Phase 2 of Massachusetts’ reopening plan — announced by Governor Baker last weekend — has been met with cautious optimism by Nahant town officials. 

Since Monday, retail stores, child care facilities, day camps, lodging, youth sports, and outdoor dining at restaurants have all been given the green light to resume limited operations, which means beach towns like Nahant may finally be able to experience a sense of normalcy this summer in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Nahant flourishes in the summer months,” said Town Administrator Tony Barletta. “That’s our prime time to enjoy our community, whether it be businesses, restaurants, beaches, our parks, or the ocean. Our activity is in a four-month window, so we’re excited that Phase 2 has begun and that some of those activities we typically get to enjoy during the summertime are on their way back.”

He added that the news is also good for the town’s local sports teams, although the state’s limitations on gatherings likely means none of Nahant’s usual summer games or tournaments will take place this year. 

“There’s a lot of recreation that occurs in the summer months here in town, and we’re happy to see that those types of programs can also begin opening,” he said. “(But) there are some limitations to what activities can occur under the government’s Phase 2. Group sizes have to be 10 people or less, and sports activities are limited to practices — no contact drills, no games.” 

Businesses that won’t be seeing much relief at all this summer, however, are the town’s function halls. 

Because those businesses rely on hosting big events as part of their business model, Barletta acknowledged that this year will be especially difficult for Nahant’s several event halls, which include Nahant Country Club, Ocean View, Bayside Function Room, and Knights of Columbus. 

“We’re trying to work with them to think creatively as to how they could do some business over the summer,” Barletta said. “Their typical business functions (include) large group gatherings, like weddings and parties, and those aren’t allowed until Phase 3 or Phase 4, so they’re really struggling.

 “Over the summer is when they make most of their business, so we’re working with them to see if they can do some business under Phase 2 and Phase 3 until their true business models are allowed again.” 

Despite economic worries, Barletta emphasized that the town’s biggest concern remains the health of its residents, noting that Nahant currently has no active COVID-19 cases. 

“Our number one priority is public health, and as long as our coronavirus numbers continue to stay flat or decline, then we see no reason to delay beyond the governor’s recommended reopening dates,” he said.