COVID-19: Massachusetts Governor Extends Non-Essential Business Closures to May 18, 2020

On April 28, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced the second extension of Massachusetts’ non-essential business closure order, now in effect until May 18, 2020. The prior closure order, which was first issued on March 23 and then extended on March 31, requires that all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public. The extended closure order follows the administration’s closure of public schools through the end of the school year and non-emergency child care programs through June 29, announced by Governor Baker during a press conference on April 21, 2020.

The new order, COVID-19 Order No. 30 dated April 28, 2020, is effective immediately. As before, businesses not on the list of COVID-19 Essential Services are encouraged to continue operating 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 18, 2020. Separate guidance that all travelers arriving in the Commonwealth must self-quarantine for 14 days, except for public health and other essential workers, also remains in effect.

The COVID-19 Essential Services list, last updated on March 31, 2020, remains in effect and provides clarification about the businesses that are allowed to operate their facilities during the emergency. As before, businesses that would like to be designated as an essential function may submit an online request form after confirming that they are not covered by the guidance issued to date. These advisories recommend that, if a business qualifies as essential, it should continue to operate and perform the essential service. The governor's 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.

The Baker administration also announced the formation of the Reopening Advisory Board, which will be co-chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy. The Board brings together business leaders, municipal government and community leaders, and public health officials from across the Commonwealth. The Reopening Advisory Board is charged with advising the administration on strategies to reopen the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics. The Board will deliver a report by May 18 that will include workplace safety standards, industry frameworks, and customer protocols and guidelines, including enforcement mechanisms and coordination with municipal leaders. The Baker administration emphasized that public health data and guidance from health care experts will dictate the timeline of the reopening process.

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.

For questions on these latest orders, please contact Pierce Atwood attorneys Kate Hamann or Melanie Conroy.



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