It looks like reopening might be a breath of fresh air in a literal sense.

When many restaurants finally get the OK to seat customers for meals, many of those diners will be seated outdoors under awnings or tents, in many cases.

The requirement to maintain social distancing of at least six feet between tables would mean less seating and, when possible, might move customers outside onto sidewalks, parking lots or even into streets closed to traffic – an idea floated by a Newburyport city councilor.

Last week, a group of fitness center owners wrote to Gov. Charlie Baker asking for permission to hold classes outside, something that would allow for social distancing while breathing fresh air. 

And it’s not just businesses looking to the outdoors. Town governments and schools might be holding town meetings and graduations outside.

In West Newbury, Town Moderator KC Swallow is looking into the idea of an outdoor Town Meeting. Swallow talked about moving the meeting to a playing field, a town-owned horseback riding area, or in the parking lot behind Page Elementary School. 

Selectmen pointed out that wherever the meeting is held, the ground would have to be level to accommodate people of all ages, portable toilets would have to be rented, there would need to be plenty of nearby parking, and a boom microphone might have to be used for allowing voters to speak. 

There’s good news for schools, too. New state guidance allows for high schools to hold in-person, outdoor graduation ceremonies starting July 19, with certain safety precautions in place and as long as public health data around COVID-19 allows the state to continue along its reopening plan.

Those in-person graduations will likely limit attendance to grads and their immediate family members, require advance sign-ups, prohibit hugging or shaking hands, and require the ceremony to be as brief as possible. Oh, and don’t forget to wear a mask. 

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