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Governor Baker Announces Reopening Plan for Massachusetts Economy

On May 18, 2020, Massachusetts Gov. Baker announced the implementation of a four-phase reopening plan for Massachusetts. For an overview of the four-phase plan, see GT Alert, Massachusetts Announces Four-Phase Reopening Approach and Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards, May 14, 2020.

General Business Guidance

Businesses eligible to reopen in Phase One must follow both mandatory workplace safety standards and sector-specific requirements. Businesses currently operating based on an Essential Services designation, as defined in the Governor’s March 23, 2020, Executive Order (updated May 15), may remain open, but must comply with mandatory safety standards by May 25, 2020.

To reopen, businesses must have the following elements in place:

  • COVID-19 Control Plan. Businesses must develop a written control plan outlining how their workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation during the reopening period. Download the reopening control plan template here. Businesses need not submit the Control Plan to a state agency for approval, but must keep it on the business premises in the event of an inspection.
  • Compliance Attestation. Once businesses complete their Control Plan, they must complete and sign a checklist attesting to compliance with safety measures. The signed attestation must be displayed in an area within the business premises, visible to both employees and visitors. Download the compliance attestation template here.
  • Workplace Posters. Businesses must also display posters within the business premises describing the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, and cleaning and disinfecting. Download the employer reopening poster here.

Industry Specific Protocols

Safety requirements and recommended best practices for those sectors eligible to reopen in Phase One include the following:

Office Spaces 

Effective May 25, 2020, Massachusetts office spaces, except those located in Boston, will be allowed to open, but must operate at no more than 25% capacity, “workers must continue to telework if feasible,” and employers must comply with the Safety Standards for Office Spaces. Companies may exceed the 25% threshold only for public health or safety considerations, or where the limitation would interfere with delivery of critical services. The 25% is calculated based on either the certificate of occupancy or the typical occupancy as of March 1, 2020. Offices located in the city of Boston will be allowed to reopen in accordance with these same guidelines on June 1, 2020. Any business or other organization that has been operating as an Essential Service has until July 1, 2020, to comply with the new limitations.

Additional Guidance

Duration of Phase One

Each phase of the Massachusetts reopening plan may last a minimum of three weeks, but the transition from one phase to the next is dependent on public health data. Businesses that may reopen under certain safety guidelines in Phase Two include retail, restaurants, lodging, and additional personal services (e.g., nail salons and day spas). Re-openings in Phase Three may include bars, arts & entertainment (e.g., casinos, fitness, gyms, museums), and other business activities except nightclubs and large venues. Finally, Phase Four may allow full resumption of activity, albeit with various safety guidelines in place.

©2020 Greenberg Traurig, LLP. All rights reserved.

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Amanda L. Carney Labor & Employment Litigation Attorney Greenberg Traurig Boston, MA
Associate

Amanda L. Carney represents clients in a broad range of commercial litigation and labor and employment matters, including claims involving discrimination, harassment and retaliation. She is experienced with handling matters in state, federal, and appeals court, and before the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. She also assists clients with conducting internal investigations involving employee misconduct. Amanda provides clients with day-to-day counseling on a variety of matters regarding wage and hour laws, internal investigations, employee handbooks/policies, and compliance...

617.310.5268
Jack Gearan, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Boston, Education, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
Associate

Jack S. Gearan is a lawyer in the Boston office of Greenberg Traurig, LLP. He concentrates his practice in the areas of business litigation and employment law. Jack has experience in all phases of civil litigation including discovery, mediation, arbitration and trial.

Jack’s business litigation practice covers a variety of business torts, including misrepresentation, fraud, contract disputes, and claims under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 93A – the Massachusetts unfair trade practices statute.

Jack also regularly represents employers in all areas of employment law, including litigation of discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and non-compete cases, as well as numerous other personnel and workplace issues. Jack frequently represents employers in wage and hour class actions brought under the Massachusetts Wage Act, and nationwide collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

617-310-5225
Justin Keith, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Boston, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
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Justin F. Keith represents employers in all areas of labor and employment law—including litigation of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, reductions in force, and numerous other personnel and workplace issues—before state and federal agencies and in courts throughout the country

He is experienced with wage and hour class actions brought under the Massachusetts Wage Act and nationwide collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. He represents employers across a broad spectrum of industries, including retail,...

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Kelly M. Pesce Litigation Attorney Greenberg Traurig Boston, MA
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Kelly M. Pesce is a litigation attorney who represents employers in virtually all areas of labor and employment law before state and federal agencies and in courts throughout the country – including litigation of discrimination, harassment and retaliation claims, and numerous other personnel and workplace issues. She is experienced with wage and hour class actions brought under state law and nationwide collective actions under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Kelly also has deep experience with complex eDiscovery matters, and has been responsible for preservation, collection, review and...

617.310.5224
Terence McCourt, Greenberg Traurig Law Firm, Boston, Labor and Employment Litigation Attorney
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Terence P. McCourt is Managing Shareholder of the Boston office and Chairman of its Labor & Employment Practice. He represents a broad range of organizations in all facets of management-side labor and employment law. During more than two decades of practice, Terry has gained a national reputation for his practical, solution-oriented approach to employment law issues.

With wide-ranging litigation experience, Terry handles diverse employment matters, including employment discrimination and wrongful termination cases in state and federal courts...

617-310-6246