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Alerts and Updates

Massachusetts to Close Nonessential Businesses and Issues "Stay at Home" Advisory

March 23, 2020

Massachusetts to Close Nonessential Businesses and Issues "Stay at Home" Advisory

March 23, 2020

Read below

The guidance on essential services issued with the order lists numerous broad categories of exemptions.

Governor Charlie Baker issued an emergency order closing all businesses and organizations in Massachusetts that do not provide COVID-19 essential services from 12:00 p.m. on March 24, until 12:00 p.m. on April 7. The order applies to physical workspaces and facilities and encourages businesses to operate remotely to the extent possible.

Guidance on Essential Services

The guidance on essential services issued with the order lists numerous broad categories of exemptions. Examples of each category of essential services are listed below and the full list of exemptions can be found on the state website.

  • Healthcare/public health/human services, including medical professionals, pharmacy workers, manufacturers that support the healthcare supply chain, health plan workers, and workers who support food, shelter and social services
  • Law enforcement, public safety, first responders, including contracted vendors who manage infrastructure supporting these operations
  • Food and agriculture, including grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurant carry-out and delivery, company cafeterias, food manufacturers, and those engaged in the manufacture or maintenance of equipment that supports agricultural production and distribution
  • Energy, including workers in the electricity, petroleum, natural and propane gas and steam industries
  • Water and wastewater, including those who maintain digital systems infrastructure for these operations
  • Transportation and logistics, including mass transit workers, air transportation employees, postal and shipping employees of private companies, automotive repair and maintenance facilities, manufacturers and distributors of packaging materials and supplies needed to support manufacturing
  • Public works, including workers that support maintenance of roads, bridges, water and sewer mains, public works construction, and construction of other critical or strategic infrastructure
  • Communications and information technology, including radio, television, media services, engineers, technicians and personnel responsible for infrastructure construction and restoration, cable service providers and certain information technology professionals
  • Other community-based essential functions and government operations, including weather forecasters, educators supporting emergency childcare programs, trade officials, security staff, hotel workers, construction workers and laundromats
  • Critical manufacturing, including those needed for medical supply chain, transportation, energy, communications, food, agriculture, chemical manufacturing and nuclear facilities
  • Hazardous materials, including those who support response and cleanup
  • Financial services, including workers needed to provide consumer access to banking and lending
  • Chemical, including workers supporting chemical and industrial gas supply chains, distribution facilities and those that distribute raw materials needed for industrial and consumer goods
  • Defense industry base, including workers who support services required to meet national security commitments, such as mechanical and software engineers and those in manufacturing, as well as businesses contracted with the Department of Defense

Applying for an Exemption as an Essential Service

Any business not found on the essential services guidance may request designation as an essential service for purposes of the order through the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.

Stay-at-Home Advisory, Revised Gatherings Order with Penalties

While Governor Baker stopped short of ordering Massachusetts residents to stay at home, the new order limits community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events and any similar event or activity to 10 or fewer individuals, a reduction of a prior order limiting such gatherings to 25 or fewer. Violators will be penalized, including a warning for a first offense, a $300 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine or imprisonment for a third offense.

About Duane Morris

Duane Morris has created a COVID-19 Strategy Team to help organizations plan, respond to and address this fast-moving situation. Contact your Duane Morris attorney for more information. Prior Alerts on the topic are available on the team’s webpage.

For Further Information

If you have any questions about this Alert, please contact Gregory S. Bombard, Lauren A. Appel, any of the attorneys in our Boston office, any member of the COVID-19 Strategy Team or the attorney at the firm with whom you are in regular contact.

Disclaimer: This Alert has been prepared and published for informational purposes only and is not offered, nor should be construed, as legal advice. For more information, please see the firm's full disclaimer.