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COVID-19: Massachusetts Extends Non-Essential Business Closures and Gathering Restrictions

On March 31, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker issued COVID-19 order No. 21 (the “March 31 Order”) extending his original March 23, 2020 emergency executive order requiring all businesses and organizations in Massachusetts that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers, and the public until May 4, 2020.

The March 31 Order also updated the list of designated businesses and other organizations that provide essential services and workforces related to COVID-19 and can continue to operate during this time. Among other things, the new list:

Adds health care providers, such as chiropractors and optometrists;

Provides clarity around the supply chain that supports other essential services; and

Expands the types of workers providing disinfectant and sanitation services.

The new list reflects the revised Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce issued by the Federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”) on March 28, 2020 and includes additional services and functions Governor Baker identified as essential to promote the public health and welfare of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development also updated its COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs (the “EOHED FAQs”) to provide further guidance associated with the March 31 Order. Governor Baker’s and the CISA’s lists of essential services, as well as the EOHED FAQs, may continue to change given the rapidly developing circumstances.

The March 31 Order not only extends the closure of non-essential services but also the prohibition against gatherings of more than 10 people until May 4, 2020. Likewise, the Department of Public Health’s (“DPH”) Stay-at-Home Advisory remains in effect, and the DPH continues to urge all Massachusetts residents to limit activities outside of the home and to practice social distancing at all times to limit the spread of COVID-19.

The updated list of essential businesses and workforces that can continue to operate in Massachusetts can be found here, the updated CISA Guidance can be found here, and the updated EOHED FAQs can be found here. The DPH Stay-at-Home Advisory can be found here.

Copyright 2020 K & L Gates


About this Author

Pomfret. Boston, picture

Mr. Pomfret represents local, regional and national employers in all areas of employment and labor law.  He has significant experience before federal and state courts in employment related litigation defending against discrimination, sexual harassment, wrongful termination, privacy, civil rights, whistleblower, contract, and tort-based claims, as well as enforcing noncompetition and other restrictive covenant obligations.  Mr. Pomfret also has successfully handled numerous administrative proceedings and investigations on behalf of clients before various federal and state agencies,...

Kathleen D. Parker Associate Labor, Employment and Workplace Safety

Ms. Parker is an associate in the firm’s Boston office, where she is a member of the labor, employment & workplace safety practice group. Ms. Parker focuses her practice on counseling international and domestic businesses on various employment issues, including preparing and revising internal policies, navigating pre- and post-employment relationships, and properly classifying employees and contractors. Ms. Parker also regularly conducts discrimination and harassment prevention training for corporate clients, represents businesses in civil and administrative employment litigation matters, and conducts internal employment investigations on behalf of her clients. Ms. Parker is dedicated to working with her clients to achieve their business goals while ensuring compliance with constantly evolving employment laws.

Ms. Parker’s employment-related work is complemented by her significant experience representing clients in complex commercial disputes in both state and federal court, managing complex discovery for clients, responding to both formal and informal inquiries from the Department of Justice and Securities and Exchange Commission, and conducting internal investigations in connection with government enforcement actions.

Julia L. Mitarotondo, litigation lawyer, KLGates

Julia Mitarotondo is an associate in the firm’s Boston office.