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Massachusetts Governor Orders Temporary Closure of Non-Essential Businesses, Further Limits Gatherings

On Monday morning, March 23, Governor Baker issued an executive order, COVID-19 Order No. 13, which expanded on previous executive orders already in place throughout the Commonwealth. COVID-19 Order No. 13 is effective at noon on March 24, 2020 and will remain in effect through noon on April 7, 2020, unless further extended.  The order supersedes any local order, so if there is a conflict between a city order and Order No. 13, Order No. 13 governs.

COVID-19 Order No. 13 directs Massachusetts residents to practice social distancing and prohibits gatherings of more than ten people in any confined indoor or outdoor space, except for the operations or activities of any business or organization that is providing COVID-19 Essential Services. COVID-19 Order No. 13 does not prohibit gatherings in unenclosed, outdoor spaces such as a park, athletic field, or parking lot if there is no close, physical contact.

COVID-19 Essential Services, as determined by the Baker Administration, are listed in Exhibit A to COVID-19 Order No. 13. Following many other states that have issued closure orders, the Essential Services closely track recommended federal guidelines, but they are not identical.  All businesses and organizations that do not provide COVID-19 Essential Services are ordered to close their physical workspaces and facilities to workers, customers, and the public and are encouraged to continue operations remotely. Restaurants, bars, and other establishments that offer food or beverages to the public may provide takeout and delivery services if they follow social distancing protocols, but may not permit on-premises consumption.  Businesses that remain open should follow the CDC guidelines for workspaces.

COVID-19 Essential Services include:

  • Health care, biopharma, public health, and human services

  • Law enforcement, public safety, and first responders

  • Food, beverage, agriculture, and pharmacy supply

  • Electricity, petroleum, natural gas, propane, and steam distribution

  • Water and wastewater infrastructure

  • Transportation and logistics operations

  • Communications and information technology

  • Critical manufacturing and hazardous materials

  • Chemical and industrial supplies

  • Defense industrial supply

  • Financial services operations

  • Community and government operations for essential functions

For specific guidance, please see the text of Exhibit A to COVID-19 Order No. 13.

If a business is not listed in Exhibit A to COVID-19 Order No. 13, but may be providing essential services or functions, a request for designation as an essential business may be submitted through the following online form.

For essential businesses involved in any petroleum-related business, emergency anti-price gouging rules are also in place for Massachusetts.  Those rules can be found here.  Stricter pricing rules may be in place for any sales to public authorities, including municipalities and public health facilities.

COVID-19 Order No. 13 does not apply to municipal legislative bodies, the General Court, or the Judiciary. Public and private elementary schools, residential schools for special needs students, and child care programs are not subject to COVID-19 Order No. 13 and remain subject to the Governor’s March 15, 2020 Order Temporarily Closing All Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools and March 18, 2020 Order Temporarily Closing All Child Care Programs, which provide separate exceptions.

©2020 Pierce Atwood LLP. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume X, Number 83


About this Author

Melanie Conroy Commercial Litigation Attorney Pierce Atwood Law Firm

Melanie Conroy focuses her practice on class action defense and complex commercial litigation. She has represented clients in connection with internal, government, and regulatory investigations, and has counseled boards of directors, board committees, and senior management on a broad range of matters, including securities, corporate governance, disclosure, and regulatory issues.

Melanie represents businesses and organizations across a wide range of industries, including life sciences, financial services, insurance, private equity, real estate, energy, media, consumer electronics,...

Kathleen Hamann White Collar Attorney Pierce Atwood Washington, DC

Kathleen Hamann is an internationally recognized authority in the field of white collar enforcement and compliance matters. Drawing on her nearly 20 years of service to the federal government, in roles at the US Department of Justice and Department of State, Kathleen helps clients navigate the complexities of U.S. and transnational criminal liability and multijurisdictional government investigations.

Since returning to private practice, Kathleen has represented clients in a number of transnational matters, conducting global risk assessments, designing compliance programs, and addressing multijurisdictional investigations that required navigation of conflicting national laws. She also represents a number of clients in enforcement actions by the multilateral development banks, proceedings conducted under principles of international law. She also serves as an international compliance consultant for the African Development Bank. 

While at the Department of Justice, Kathleen successfully prosecuted many high-profile criminal matters involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) and designed and implemented the first FCPA self-monitorships and hybrid monitorships. Her casework as a prosecutor across a broad range of countries and industries included the design and negotiation of the first-ever simultaneous settlement by the DOJ, the US Securities and Exchange Commission, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, and the UK Serious Fraud Office.

Appointed as the DOJ’s international policy counsel on anticorruption in 2010, she represented the Department at the multinational Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD) Working Group on Bribery, where she played a key role in its evaluation of bribery law in Canada and the UK, and was invited to advise Chile on its corporate criminal liability statute. Kathleen was recognized for her outstanding work at the OECD by receiving the Assistant Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service, the Criminal Division’s highest award for employee performance.

Prior to joining the DOJ, Kathleen served as a Foreign Service Officer for the US Department of State, where she provided additional international exposure to a variety of jurisdictions, including Latin America and Germany. As the deputy director of anticorruption and governance initiatives in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, she developed and negotiated a range of international policies and commitments to combat international and transnational crime.

With her extensive international experience, Kathleen’s global perspective on white collar enforcement, compliance, and policy issues allows her to provide skilled representation to clients around the world, and to assist in developing robust, efficient, and integrated compliance systems.

Before joining Pierce Atwood, Kathleen was a partner in the Washington, DC office of White & Case LLP.

Kathleen speaks and writes regularly on issues such as anticorruption, the FCPA, multijurisdictional and international investigations, and conflict of laws. She is also an adjunct professor at American University Washington College of Law.