Last updated November 23, 2020
These restrictions are changing rapidly – please check back regularly for updates, or refer to state websites
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its threat to public health from in-person contact, every state in New England issued orders closing or otherwise limiting business operations. Over the past month, almost all states in the region have begun scaling back or reversing their phased reopenings due to the spiking COVID infection rates. Additionally, almost every state in the area has instituted mandatory closure times (curfews) for businesses. A summary of the current key orders and plans is outlined below. Our alert regarding travel restrictions and quarantine requirements throughout New England is available here.
Please note that orders are often extended only shortly before they are set to expire.
State of Emergency Declared
State of Emergency Duration
Price control order in effect
Early Business Closure
10:00 pm weekdays, 10:30 pm weekends
Cross-border travel restriction†
14-day quarantine or negative test if from hotspot
14-day quarantine or testing (certain states exempt)
14-day quarantine or negative test unless from low risk state
14 day quarantine or negative test (New England exempt)
14-day quarantine or negative test if from hotspot
14-day quarantine, or 7-day and negative test (except for counties in certain states)
Masks or coverings in public*
Essential services list
β relief available under state’s consumer protection laws
† see our alert on travel restrictions for additional requirements and exemptions
**compliance with CDC guidance recommended
* where other physical distancing measures are difficult to maintain
Effective November 6, Connecticut entered Phase 2.1 of its re-opening, a rollback from Phase 3 based on an increase in cases state-wide. Order 9K makes the following changes to gatherings:
- Religious gatherings: indoors at 50% capacity, capped at 100 people, with masks and social distancing; outdoors limited to the number of people that can be accommodated safely by the venue, masks and social distancing required
- Graduations: indoors at 50% capacity, capped at 100 people, with masks and social distancing; outdoor 50% capacity with no cap, masks and social distancing required
The order also returns to state-wide protective measures, repealing the authority for municipalities to revert back to pre-Phase 3 gathering and capacity limits for certain types of businesses in instances of increased COVID-19 spread within the community. Also under the order, rules pursuant to Order 7MM easing the ability to expand outdoor dining are extended through February 9, 2021. In addition to a mandatory 10:00pm closing time for restaurants (takeout and delivery may continue past this time), entertainment and recreation venues, and indoor and outdoor events at commercial venues, the following capacity restrictions for Phase 2.1 are also in place:
- Restaurants: up to 50% capacity indoors with 6 feet of spacing and maximum of 8 people per table
- Outdoor event venues (e.g. amphitheaters, race tracks, etc.): capacity up to 25%, with masks and social distancing requirements
- Indoor performing arts venues: open at 50% capacity, capped at 100 people, with masks and social distancing requirements, only seated audiences allowed, and no service of food or beverages
- Indoor recreation (incl. bowling and movie theaters): up to 50% capacity, capped at 100 people
- Private social and recreational activities: indoor at commercial / business establishments can operate at 50% capacity, capped at 25 people (outdoor capped at 50 people); at private residence capped at 10 people for both indoor and outdoor. Guidance for indoor events excludes back-of-house staff from the 100 person indoor event limit
- Bars and nightclubs continue to remain closed
Connecticut, along with all other states in New England and New Jersey, agreed to a regional suspension of interstate youth hockey competitions, effective November 14 through December 31. Our alert on the announcement is available here. Within the state, hockey is subject to general rules for sports and fitness facilities.
Guidance for the upcoming holiday season is available here. Guidance has also been revised for Phase 2.1 for the following businesses: amusement parks and hotels and lodging, libraries, film, television, and digital media production, and personal services, including nail salons, spas, and tattoo parlors (in addition to hair salons).
Order 9B, effective September 15, authorizes local officials, including state and municipal police officers and public safety departments of high education institutions to issue fines for certain violations of COVID-related orders and regulations, including (a) a $100 fine for violations of the mask requirements pursuant to Order 7NNN and other sector rules; (b) a $500 fine for violations by persons or businesses who organize, host, or sponsor a gathering in violation of size restrictions pursuant to Order 7ZZ, 7NNN, and sector guidance for venues and events, and (c) a $250 fine for persons who attend such gatherings. Order 9L clarifies that any COVID-related order currently in effect is extended through February 9, 2021 except that individual sections of an order that call for expiration on a specific date will remain in effect until that date.
Social clubs must follow all rules applicable to the specific operation, such as restaurants and pools. Phase 2.1 guidance is also available for offices, museums, zoos, and aquariums, and retail & malls, and the essential business rules from Order 7PP are extended through the duration of the emergency unless otherwise modified. Guidance on the essential businesses rules is available here, and here for essential retailers. General business rules applicable to university research and outdoor recreation activities, are available here. The “safe workplaces” guidance (Order 7V) for essential businesses remains in effect unless a business is otherwise subject to sector-specific rules.
Trails and state parks also remain open, as well as state campgrounds. Beaches are partially open, subject to guidance from individual towns. Childcare facilities are limited to a group size to 16 or 18 children depending on space, although limited to 8 for infants and toddlers. All staff and children over the age of three are required to wear masks. Guidance for nursing homes and senior centers is also available.
Please refer to our alert on updated travel requirements for quarantine and travel guidance. Connecticut’s state of emergency and price controls for designated goods are currently in effect through February 9, 2021.
Due to a rapid increase in COVID spread, Governor Janet Mills has imposed a curfew for all outdoor and indoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos, and businesses that provide seated food and drink service, including social clubs, restaurants, and bars and tasting rooms currently open for outdoor service. Effective November 20 through December 6, these businesses must close for the night by 9:00 pm and remain closed until their scheduled reopening time the following day. Note that restaurants and other seated food service businesses may continue delivery and takeout after 9:00 pm. Our alert on these new measures is available here.
On November 1, Governor Janet Mills announced the extension of the state’s Keep Maine Healthy program through December and an end to exemptions from the state’s travel and quarantine requirements for Connecticut, New Jersey, and New York, effective November 4. Effective November 16, Massachusetts was removed from the exempt list, leaving only travelers from Vermont and New Hampshire exempt from the requirements. Please refer to our alert on travel restrictions throughout New England, available here, for more information.
Effective November 4, Order 16 extended the face covering requirements (from Orders 49, 2, and 14) to apply in public settings, regardless of the ability to maintain physical distance. Notice of this requirement must be posted by owners and operators of all indoor pubic settings, and businesses may deny service or entry for non-compliance. Order 14 had also broadened the requirement to the entire state, rather than just to more populous cities. The Order also requires places such as private schools and local government buildings to have their employees and clients wear face coverings, similar to the requirements for restaurants, lodging, and retail establishments. Answers to commonly asked questions regarding the mask mandate are available here.
Additionally, effective November 4, indoor gatherings went back to a maximum of 50 people, regardless of building capacity, while outdoor capacity limits remain at 100 people. Guidance for large gatherings generally is available here. Occupancy limits for retail establishments will remain at five people per 1,000 square feet of shopping space. This replaces the previous cap of 100 people for Phase 4 under Order 14. The previously-expected November 2 reopening of bars and tasting rooms for indoor service has been postponed until further notice.
Unless modified for Phase 4, guidance is still in place from prior phases for the following businesses (some updated as recently as November 19):
- Retail businesses, movie theaters and drive-in movie theaters, and museums
- Restaurants: maximum of 50 persons seated inside and 100 outside, including front-of-house staff, with total occupancy (indoor and outdoor) not to exceed 150 people
- Amusement venues (both indoor and outdoor) and casinos
- Religious services: staff required to wear face cloth coverings
- Personal services, including spa/close-contact, tanning, tattoo and piercing, barber shops and hair salons, and nail salons
- Short-term rentals and lodging: in accordance with quarantine guidelines per Order 54 and the Keep Maine Healthy plan)
- Outdoor recreation, including campgrounds and coastal state parks
- Community sports: participation allowed based on risk level of sport or activity and level of play (although part of the regional group suspending interstate youth hockey through the end of the year, Maine’s guidance currently prohibits interstate youth hockey through January 11, 2021); note that professional and collegiate sports and events have separate guidelines
- Gyms and fitness centers
Maine has also issued guidance for businesses with seasonal activities such as craft fairs, and sleigh rides. Otherwise still in place is the guidance from Phase 2, which began on June 1 via Order 55. All essential businesses and businesses that opened in Phase 1 could remain open in Phase 2, and Phase 2 permitted employees in legal and professional fields to return to offices, including State employees. Order 55 also clarified that places of business accessible to the public must post signs notifying customers of the requirement to wear cloth face coverings where physical distancing is not possible and also allows businesses to deny entry or service to a person not wearing a mask.
Construction firms must reduce the size of work crews and stagger shifts to minimize interaction between teams. Guidance for in-home services, including electricians, plumbers, cleaners, and installers, is available here. With appropriate safety precautions, including maintenance of six feet of physical distance and the wearing of masks where such distance cannot be maintained, the following businesses are also allowed to open:
- Health care services
- Pet grooming
- Real estate, auto dealerships and car washes
- Outdoor recreation, such as guided outdoor activities, golf and disc golf courses, and marinas
- State parks, state-owned public land trails, and historic sites
Please refer to our alert on travel requirements for quarantine and travel guidance. Maine’s state of emergency and price controls are currently in effect through November 27, 2020.
On November 2, Governor Baker announced a number of orders outlining targeted measures in response to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Compliance with the Stay at Home Advisory requires residents to stay home between 10:00 pm and 5:00 am except to go to work or school, or for other essential needs such as grocery shopping or picking up medicine. It advises against gatherings in your home with anyone outside of your household.
Order 56 contains revisions to previous guidance for Step 2 of Phase 3, superseding Order 51. The new order removes the “lower risk metric” defined in Order 51 to allow for adjustments as warranted by changes in public health date but does not make other substantive changes. Enterprises permitted to open under Step 2 of Phase 3 in these lower risk areas include indoor performance venues and indoor recreational activities.
Order 53, effective November 6, imposes a mandatory night-time closing period for 16 types of businesses and facilities. The order also prohibits the sale of alcohol during the closing period, including by retailers, restaurants, and private clubs. A similar restriction on the sale of adult-use cannabis is also in place.
- Private residences: indoor gatherings limit to 10 people, outdoor gatherings limited to 25 people
- Indoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings: limited to 25 people
- Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings
- Lower Risk Communities: up to 100 people
- Communities that do not qualify as lower risk: up to 50 people
These limitations apply to all social, community, civic, public, and leisure events, as well as conferences, conventions, fundraisers, and other similar events. Critically, workers and staff present to provide services to participants in these gatherings do not count towards the capacity limitations. The order also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires cooperation with contact tracing. Other than businesses subject to indoor and outdoor event guidance, no other industry is subject to this limitation so long as it complies with its sector specific guidance. Gatherings for religious activities and outdoor gatherings for political expression are also exempt, but indoor gatherings for either must follow applicable sector-specific capacity limitations.
Following Order 53, Order 54 also requires that all gatherings must end by 9:30 pm with the exception of religious and political gatherings. The order also incorporates Order 55 (rescinding Order 31), which requires face coverings in public places by all persons over the age of 5. Order 55 includes exceptions for the requirement to wear a face mask. As with prior orders, the new restrictions in Order 54 do not apply to federal government entities, health care facilities, or workplaces or facilities with specialized functions such as polling places, public and private schools, residential and day schools for special needs students, or Department of Correction facilities.
The Department of Public Health’s guidance for indoor skating rinks and ice hockey, which prohibited on-ice activity through November 7, has been replaced by guidance applicable for all youth and adult amateur sports activities for Step 2 of Phase 3, most recently updated on November 12. Additional guidance for Step 2 of Phase 3 for low-risk communities (and links to guidance as of November 5) includes:
- Performance venues
- Arcades and indoor and outdoor recreation businesses
- Retail businesses
- Gyms, museums, libraries, and driving and flight schools
Phase 3 Step 2 guidance, some updated November 5, is also available for close contact personal services and places of worship. Updated guidance for restaurants still requires face coverings to be worn by customers unless seated, with tables positioned to maintain at least 6 feet of dance from other tables, with party size at tables limited to 10 people. Bar seating is permitted with proper distance or barriers in place. Golf facilities are also permitted to operate at 50% of building capacity, with no more than 10 persons per 1,000 sq ft in any enclosed space.
Per Order 45, employers should take measures to ensure employees comply with all state-issued travel rules for out of state travel, and employers are discouraged from requiring or allowing out of state travel to or from non-low risk states. Step 2 Phase 3 guidance for lodging operators continues the requirement to inform guests of the current travel guidance. Our alert on the travel order, effective August 1, is available here.
Order 50, effective September 10 extends the ability of cities and towns to approve requests for expanded outdoor table service past November 1, 2020 as well as approvals previously granted pursuant to earlier orders. The Department of Public Health has also issued updated guidance for farmers markets and farm stands. Guidance for offices in still in place, with capacity limited 50% of building’s maximum occupancy, with no enclosed space to exceed 10 people per 1,000 sq. ft., and employees continuing to telework where feasible, particularly in more densely populated areas like Boston.
The previously-developed mandatory safety standards are still applicable to all sectors and industries. Governor Baker has also issued an Order authorizing re-opening preparations for child care programs, and Order 49 authorizing expansion of some child-care programs to supervise children engaged in engaged learning.
The following businesses are also open (with links to sector-specific guidance): laboratories and additional health care providers, pet grooming, carwashes, beaches, pools, and drive-in theaters, recreational and for-hire and charter boating, and zoos.
Essential business already operating were required certify compliance with safety standards by May 25, and new guidance continues to be issued for manufacturing and construction operations. Further, hospitals and community health centers could, upon attestation, resume offering some of their services. Otherwise still in effect is Governor Baker’s initial Order regarding continued operation of essential services, which orders all businesses with “brick and mortar” premises to operate only by remote means unless they are designated as essential or permitted to open through the orders described above. The Essential Services list remains in effect.
Please refer to our alert on the current travel requirements for quarantine and travel guidance in New England and our alert on the Commonwealth’s travel order. Massachusetts’s state of emergency and price controls are in effect until rescinded by the Governor.
New Hampshire was the last state in New England to issue a closure order with Emergency Order 17, which required all businesses not identified as providing “essential services” to close their physical workspaces to facilities, workers, customers, and the public, and cease all in-person operations.
With the exception of interstate competition per the regional suspension, guidance for hockey and indoor ice arenas permitted a return to play beginning October 30, with NCAA Safety Guidance controlling for collegiate hockey programs.
Guidance for places of worship was revised on November 10 to permit resumption of in-person services, although online or virtual services are encouraged. Capacity for in-person services is limited to 50% or lower to maintain proper distancing.
Effective November 20, Order 74 requires all persons over the age of five to wear a mask or cloth face covering any time they are in public spaces, whether indoors or outdoors, and unable to consistently maintain a physical distance of six feet from persons outside their household, subject to specific exceptions. The order does not supersede provisions related to masks in any sector-specific guidance.
Order 52 requires all businesses operating in the state to comply with the state’s Universal Guidelines, updated most recently on November 13 (see below), in addition to any applicable industry-specific guidelines. New Hampshire’s new travel restriction requires all travelers, including returning residents, to abide by the quarantine requirements set out in the Universal Guidelines, previously applicable only to businesses. Please refer to our alert on travel restrictions throughout New England, available here, for more information. Businesses in need of disposable masks may submit a form to request masks at no cost from state. Order 52, extended most recently via Order 72, and all other orders issued pursuant to the state of emergency are in effect until November 20. Businesses not deemed essential or not otherwise provided with specific guidance remain closed.
On November 13, the universal guidelines were again revised with guidance for the following industries updated as indicated below:
- Community Arts & Music Education: class size limited to permit social distancing of six feet (more for singing or wind instruments), with performances and exhibitions following performing arts guidelines
- Drive-In Movie Theatres: may operate at full capacity with 10 feet between vehicles, supplement restrooms with portable toilets
- Driver’s Education: in-person classes limited to permit social distancing; masks required for behind the wheel training, in-car time limited to maximum of 60 minutes
- Equestrian Facilities: lesson and spectator size limited to permit social distancing
- Funeral Homes: capacity limited to permit social distancing; household family members may sit together but must be six feet from other groups
- Golf Courses: each area must follow guidance that aligns with its activities (ex: pro shop to follow retail guidance), no rental or sharing of clubs is permitted
- Libraries: capacity limited to permit social distancing
- Museums & Art Galleries: admission limited to permit social distancing, guided tours capped at 10 people
- Seacoast Beaches: open, with social distance required; towns and NH state parks permitted to develop and implement more restrictive guidelines
- Outdoor Attractions (activities of fewer than 10 people, not amusement parks)
- State Parks: no water bubblers or fountains; note that individual parks may have additional guidance
In early May, the following openings were permitted (with additional guidance since replaced by Addendum A of the universal guidelines): manufacturing, certain healthcare services, retail stores, barbers and hair salons, and dentists.
Guidance for lodging operations requires social distance and adherence to quarantine and travel requirements for out of state visitors. Additional guidance for new or relaxed operations (some updated as recently as October 30) includes:
- Restaurants: includes indoor seating in certain counties, with capacity limits; 50% capacity limit for indoor events applies to restaurants, despite restaurant guidance permitting higher capacity
- Pools and health and fitness, including gyms, personal and group fitness, and indoor playgrounds
- Charitable gaming and bowling and entertainment centers
- Day camps and overnight camps
Also currently open, with updated guidance are child care and amateur and youth sports (including athletic leagues and team training). Guidance is also available for personal services, including acupuncture, body art, cosmetology, and massage. All sector-specific guidance is also in addition to CDC guidance for business and employers, and CDC guidance for cleaning and disinfection. Numerical limits on gatherings have also expired, except as contained in the sector-specific guidance. Order 65 details enforcement mechanisms of all COVID-related orders and regulations, including a civil penalty of up to $1,000 for each violation or day that a violation continues.
Please refer to our alert on travel requirements for quarantine and travel guidance. New Hampshire’s state of emergency is currently in effect through December 11, 2020.
Rhode Island again revised its guidance for Phase 3 via Order 98, effective November 20 through November 29. Under the order, the social gathering size is limited to a single household for all public and private social gatherings, including holiday gatherings, parties and celebrations, both outdoor and indoor. The order keeps in place the 25 person limit for indoor social gatherings in a restaurant or with licensed catering on site such as weddings and the limit of 75 people outdoors.
Additionally, Order 98 requires retail businesses to close dressing rooms and clearly post capacity limits. Retail businesses must also develop a plan to manage capacity limits during the holiday shopping season by November 24.
The Stay at Home Advisory from Order 95 remains in effect. Compliance with the advisory requires residents to stay home between 10:00pm and 5:00am Sunday through Thursday, and from 10:30 pm through 5:00 am Friday and Saturday, unless travelling to or from work or school, or traveling for medical treatment or to obtain necessities like food and gas. The curfew applies to all restaurants, bars, gyms, recreational facilities, and personal services, although restaurants can continue to offer takeout and drive-through after that time. The following provisions also remain in effect:
- Indoor venues (incl. theaters, convention centers, etc.): may operate up to 50% capacity or one person per 100 sq. ft., up to 125 people, with Phase 3 guidelines still in place
- Outdoor venues: may operate up to 66% capacity or one person per 100 sq. ft. up to 150 people, with Phase 3 guidelines still in place
- Religious and faith-based organizations: may conduct indoor activities up to 50% of capacity up to 125 people, with Phase 3 guidelines still in place; outdoor services may operate at 66% capacity up to 150 people (see separate guidance for funeral homes). All houses of worship are also required to develop a COVID-19 Control Plan.
- Indoor sports facilities and sports: ice rinks and indoor sporting open, but athletic activities generally are subject to restrictions based on risk-level, effective trough the end of the year:
- Low-risk sports: practices, games, and tournaments in state attended by out-of-state teams is allowed
- Moderate-risk sports: hosting practices, games, or tournaments with out-of-state teams is prohibited
- High-risk sports: all competitions, including scrimmages, are prohibited
- Spectators: a maximum of two spectators for any athlete younger than 18 is allowed
The governor also announced plans for a two-week pause on reopening to begin after Thanksgiving. During that time, social gatherings will remain limited to one household and capacity for indoor dining will lower from 66% to 33% with one household per table. Retail will remain at one person per 100 square feet, with big box stores lowering capacity to one person per 150 sq. ft. Further, capacity at houses of worship will be reduced to 25%, up to 125 people. Offices will remain closed where possible, and bar areas, recreational venues, and indoor sports facilities, gyms and organized sports will all close (with college and professional sports exempt). Until that time, all guidance from Order 98 and the sector-specific guidance below remains in effect. We will update this alert as new guidance is formally issued.
Order 94 requires the wearing of masks at all times, whether indoors or outdoors when with anyone outside your household, and continues the requirement to wear masks or face coverings at all times when inside grocery stores, pharmacies or other retail businesses, and while using public transportation. The order includes certain exceptions, one of which is when working alone in an office or job site (where six feet of distance is maintained from all other people).
Rhode Island recently issued tips for a safer holiday season, as well as guidance specifically for autumn-related recreational activities and farmer’s markets. The following updated sector-specific guidance is also in place:
- Gyms and fitness centers: outdoor activities preferred, limited to one person per 100 sq. ft., with same capacity limit for indoor open gym settings
- Retail: generally limited to one customer per 100 sq. ft. store area open to customers (see additional guidance for grocers and large retailers)
- Restaurants: indoor capacity limited to 66% with table-spacing required; outdoor dining encouraged as long as the restaurant does not service more than its normal operating capacity; bar areas open for seated service only through November 22; nightclubs remain closed
- Offices: work from home still strongly encouraged when possible, but in-office capacity limited to 66% of workers with physical distancing standards and guidance for workplace common areas; business also asked to cancel any non-essential work-related travel.
- Construction, residential realtors, and personal services (including hair, nail, and tattoo salons)
Highlights of Phase 3 guidance are available here. Also currently open, with updated guidance are: state parks and beaches, open with capacity limitations and social distancing restrictions (additional guidance for parks, campgrounds, and RV parks), outdoor activities (including pools and lifeguards, marinas and charter boats, and youth and adult sports), casinos, recreation and cultural activities (including golf, museums, arcades, and zoos, among others), and child care services. Guidance for cooling centers is available here and here for emergency shelters. Visitation continues to be restricted for hospitals nursing homes and assisted living facilities. Guidance is also available for OHA community gathering, communal living for seasonal workers, and youth congregate care settings, as well as for healthcare and dental providers
As part of the state’s reopening, all businesses, including those that are currently operating, are required to develop a written COVID-19 Control Plan outlining how their workplace will prevent the spread of COVID-19. Rhode Island has also issued updated school-aged guidance for Fall 2020, a K-12 Playbook, health and safety guidance for elementary and secondary schools, guidance for colleges, universities, and boarding schools, and for adult classes. The state recently released best-practice guidance for operation of school facilities and guidelines for ventilation. Still in effect, unless supplemented by Phase 2 or 3 guidance, are the restrictions from Phase 1, as are the general business guidelines from Phase 2.
Please refer to our alert on travel requirements for quarantine and travel guidance. Rhode Island’s state of emergency and price controls are currently in effect through December 3, 2020.
Vermont is in Phase 6 of its restart, which allows for limited resumption of business operations not deemed critical under the initial Stay Home/Stay Safe order. Addendum 8 places the following limitations on business and social gatherings, effective November 14:
- Multiple household social gatherings prohibited, including at all public and private social, recreational and entertainment gatherings, indoor and outdoor
- Restaurants must close in-person dining at 10:00 pm but may continue pickup and delivery; seated dining service limited to one household per table
- Bars and social clubs who serve food must close for in-person service but may continue pickup and delivery of alcohol
The addendum also requires cooperation with the state’s Department of Health for contact tracing, including maintenance of a contact log for all restaurants and other places of public accommodation. This does not include retail operations. Further, all organized sports programs, including organized and/or informal recreational youth and adult league sports, practices, games and tournaments, are suspended although outdoor recreation and fitness activities may continue consistent with all applicable health and safety guidelines. The state recently issued guidance for ski resorts.
All open businesses must comply with the state’s health and safety requirements, including observing social distancing on the job to the extent possible, wearing face coverings, and screening workers at the beginning of each shift. Addendum to Order 01-20 clarifies that cities and towns may enact and enforce limits on gathering size that are more restrictive than those established be the state, so be sure to check local restrictions as well.
In addition to the mandatory 10:00 pm closing, restaurants must allow for 6 feet of distance between seated parties, and customers are required to be seated while consuming food or beverages. Capacity remains at the lesser of 50% or one person per 100 square feet, with a maximum of 75 people indoors and 150 outdoors. Bar seating is now permitted only if a physical barrier, such as a piece of plexiglass, separates the patrons from bartenders and the drink preparation area. The same capacity restrictions are in place for indoor arts and culture venues, including libraries, galleries, museums, and theaters.
While businesses including restaurants and event and entertainment venues may host religious or wedding ceremonies, funerals, or other essential gatherings, they are prohibited from hosting social gatherings such as wedding receptions, parties, or business meetings that accommodate guests from multiple households. For allowable ceremonies or events, an organization may accommodate up to 50% of approved occupancy size or one person per 100 square feet of customer-facing space, up to a maximum of 75 people indoors and 150 people outdoors or the maximum licensed seating capacity, whichever is less.
Further, rules specifically for large indoor businesses (those with over 17,100 sq. ft. of space with no full walls interrupting the space) may have up to 150 people, as long as six feet of social distance is maintained, capacity remains below 50% of occupancy limits, and the group of 150 must be broken into separate units not to exceed 75 persons each, with no mixing between groupings permitted. Notably, vendors do not count towards the limit on person size (indoor or outdoor) for any event venue, regardless of size.
Banking and non-essential retail operations may operate at the greater of 50% capacity, one customer per 200 square feet, or 10 total customer and staff combined. Hair salons and barber shops are subject to a capacity limit equal to the greater of 25% capacity, one customer per 200 square feet, or 10 total customer and staff combined. The same restrictions are in place for other close contact personal services, as well as gyms and fitness centers, which also have a limit of 25 people in any single, distinct indoor space. Religious facilities and places of worship are open, subject to physical distancing either by limiting capacity to 50% or one person per 100 sq. ft., and interior residential and commercial construction may occur in occupied structures.
Addendum 5 to Order 01-20, clarifies that the state’s requirement regarding masks or cloth face coverings in public spaces, indoor and outdoor, wherever close contact of less than 6 feet is unavoidable does not apply during strenuous exercise or activity when physical distance of six feet can be maintained, or for anyone under the age of two. Businesses must make customers aware of this requirement and may decline entry or service to customers who do not wear masks or facial coverings. This order is applicable to all businesses unless alternatives are provided for in specific circumstances by sector specific guidance.
Guidance has also been issued for the following:
- Childcare and after school programs
- Indoor arts and culture, including libraries, galleries, museums, and theaters
- Lodging: permits booking of 100% of rooms, with operators requiring a signed or checked document from guests attesting they meet the quarantine requirements (same for camps and RV parks)
Additional updates to the state’s Be Smart, Stay Safe order are posted here. On July 29, Governor Scott also signed a directive regarding school reopening. Guidance for colleges and universities is available here.
Also still in effect is Addendum 12, which includes guidance for manufacturing, construction, and distribution operations. An amendment to Addendum 3 began the phased restart of elective medical and surgical procedures as of May 15 in accordance with the standards set out in Addendum 3. Guidance is also available for pet and animal care and veterinarians.
Outdoor recreation and fitness is allowed, as are the outdoor recreation businesses that support or offer such activities with low or no direct physical contact, including state and municipal parks, recreation associations, trail networks, golf courses, big game check stations, and guided expeditions. Beaches are only permitted to open if they can comply with general guidance for outdoor recreation.
Please refer to our alert on travel requirements for quarantine and travel guidance. Vermont’s state of emergency is currently in effect through December 15, 2020.
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