There is no longer any reason for Governor Charlie Baker not to fully re-open the Massachusetts economy. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has adjusted its guidance on COVID-19 safety protocols. Baker must adjust his re-opening plan accordingly.

The CDC says anyone who is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer needs to wear a mask indoors or out and should be exempt from social distancing requirements.

While some states have lifted COVID restrictions, Baker refuses and has instead set August 1 as a target date to re-open. Baker's hardline stance and his refusal to discontinue additional unemployment benefits are crippling local businesses. Baker needs to re-open Massachusetts in time for the Memorial Day weekend, the start of the summer season.

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Baker needs to act now to ensure that businesses can hire the help they will need to meet the demand as people locked indoors last summer begin to flood the beaches and other tourist locations in the coming months. He must also lift all restrictions on businesses, allowing them to operate at full capacity once more.

By allowing the unemployed to collect an additional $300 in benefits weekly, Baker discourages people from returning to work. Who wouldn't want to collect an extra $300 per week to hang at the beach until September? Restrictions continue to keep some businesses from operating fully and others from opening at all.

Charlie Baker needs to get out of the way and let the Massachusetts economy regenerate itself. Discontinue additional unemployment assistance and lift operating restrictions on Bay State businesses, and let's all get on with our lives.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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