COVID-19: Massachusetts Governor Extends Non-Essential Business Closures and Updates Non-Essential Business Categories

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today announced several key updates to his March 23, 2020 executive order, which had directed the closure of physical workplaces and facilities for non-essential businesses from noon on March 24, 2020 through noon on April 7, 2020. That prior closure order is now extended through May 4, 2020 by COVID-19 Order No. 21, effective immediately. As before, businesses not on the list of COVID-19 Essential Services are encouraged to continue operations remotely. This order also extends the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people, as well as the Department of Public Health’s Stay-at-Home Advisory, through May 4, 2020.

The Baker Administration also updated the COVID-19 Essential Services categories that are allowed to operate their facilities during the emergency. Key changes to the COVID-19 Essential Services categories are based on guidance from the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency and includes clarification about the supply chain that supports essential services, the addition of certain health care providers, and the expansion of types of sanitation workers included. The new COVID-19 Essential Services list, attached to the March 31, 2020 Order as Exhibit A, is effective at noon on April 1, 2020 and replaces the previously issued Exhibit A to Governor Baker’s March 23, 2020 closure order.

The Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development has also provided a COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs resource that will be updated to reflect the governor’s latest order and the revised COVID-19 Essential Services list.

As before, businesses that would like to be designated an essential function may submit an online request form after confirming that they are not covered by the guidance issued to date.

These advisories reiterate that, if a business qualifies as essential, it should continue to operate and perform their essential service. The Administration urges all essential businesses to follow social distancing protocols for workers and customers in accordance with guidance from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the CDC guidelines for workspaces.

Pierce Atwood’s COVID-19 Response Team continues to track all Executive Orders issued for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts by the Baker Administration. For a complete list, please visit our related coverage, available here.  We also have a quick reference guide on New England closure orders that is updated on a regular basis, available here.



With so much information, so many decisions and so little time to address issues raised by the coronavirus pandemic, you need help at your fingertips. Click here for our most recent updates and a directory of Pierce Atwood COVID-19 attorneys who are knowledgeable on the various questions and challenges you may be confronting.

We will continue to add information about specific topics so please check back frequently!

Please contact your principal attorney at Pierce Atwood or one of the attorneys in the directory for immediate assistance.