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COVID-19: Massachusetts Announces Second Extension of Closures, Restrictions; Announces Reopening Advisory Board

Date: 4 May 2020
U.S. Labor, Employment & Workplace Safety and Public Policy and Law Alert
By: Mark D. Pomfret, Kathleen D. Parker, Julia L. Mitarotondo

On April 28, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charles D. Baker issued COVID-19 Order No. 30 (the “April 28 Order”) extending the closure of non-essential businesses and organizations until May 18, 2020. The April 28 Order is the second extension of Governor Baker’s original March 23, 2020 emergency executive order.

  • The updated list of designated businesses and other organizations that provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” and can continue to operate, which was issued along with the first extension on March 31, 2020, remains effective and unchanged by the April 28 Order. 
  • The April 28 Order also extends the prohibition of gatherings of more than 10 people until May 18, 2020. 
  • The Department of Public Health’s (“DPH”) Stay-at-Home Advisory remains in effect, and the DPH strongly urges all Massachusetts residents to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary person-to-person contact during this time period. High-risk residents are advised to limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.

On April 28, 2020, Governor Baker also announced the formation of a 17-member “Reopening Advisory Board” (the “Board”) comprising public health officials, municipal officials, and leaders from the business community.  

  • Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy will act as the Board co-chairs.
  • The Board will advise the administration on strategies to reopen the economy in phases based on health and safety metrics.
  • Among its mandates, the Board will meet with key stakeholders and solicit input from a variety of constituencies across the Commonwealth over the next three weeks to develop a report by May 18, 2020. The report will include DPH-approved workplace safety standards, industry frameworks, and customer protocols and guidelines. While the report is due on May 18, 2020, the administration has made it clear that public health data and guidance from health care experts will dictate the timeline of the re-opening process.

Governor Baker, along with the governors of Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island, previously announced the creation of a multi-state council to develop an integrated framework for restoring the economy and lifting the states’ respective stay-at-home orders. The council will consist of one health expert, one economic development expert, and the respective chief of staff from each state.

The list of essential businesses and workforces that can continue to operate in Massachusetts can be found here, and COVID-19 Essential Services FAQs, which are updated as necessary, can be found here. The DPH Stay-at-Home Advisory can be found here.

K&L Gates is advising clients on the parameters of the emergency executive order and is continuing to monitor COVID-19 developments.

This publication/newsletter is for informational purposes and does not contain or convey legal advice. The information herein should not be used or relied upon in regard to any particular facts or circumstances without first consulting a lawyer. Any views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of the law firm's clients.

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