Massachusetts Order Concerning the Closure of Non-Essential Businesses

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Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker issued a new emergency order today, March 23, 2020, concerning the continued operations of "essential services," the closure of certain workplaces, and revised assemblage restrictions (the "Order"). Below is a non-exhaustive list of key provisions of the Order.

  • The Order creates a list of business operations and services that are considered essential and are deemed "COVID-19 Essential Services." This list can be found here.
  • All COVID-19 Essential Services are urged to continue operating but should follow social distancing protocol recommendations of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
  • All businesses that do not provide COVID-19 Essential Services shall close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of 12:00 p.m. on March 24, 2020, until 12:00 p.m. on April 7, 2020.
  • Businesses and organizations that do not provide COVID-19 Essential Services are encouraged to continue remote operations to the extent possible without requiring anyone to enter the physical workplace.
  • Gatherings of more than 10 people in any confined indoor or outdoor spaces are prohibited throughout Massachusetts.
    • This prohibition does not apply to businesses or organizations that deliver COVID-19 Essential Services.
    • This prohibition does not apply to unenclosed, outdoor spaces, such as parks, athletic fields, parking lots, etc. unless such activity brings participants into close, physical contact.
  • Places of worship are not required to close their facilities, but they are required to comply with the 10 person limitation on public gatherings.
  • Food and beverage providers are encouraged to provide take-out and delivery services but are prohibited from allowing on-premises consumption of food or beverages.
  • Violations of the Order may result in criminal penalties or civil fines up to $300 per violation.
  • Anyone may request that their business be designated a COVID-19 Essential Service by completing the form located on the following website: https://www.mass.gov/forms/essential-service-designation-request

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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