1-21-21 Baker-Polito Administration Extends Capacity Limits and Lifts Early Closing Requirement for Businesses. Effective 5AM on Monday, January 25, the 10PM – 5AM Stay at Home Advisory will be lifted on Massachusetts residents, and the Mandatory Early Closing Order, which required certain businesses to close at 9:30PM, will end. For a complete list of businesses this change applies to, click here.

12-8-20 Baker-Polito Administration Announces Statewide Rollback to Phase III, Step 1, Additional Restrictions. Effective Sunday, December 13, all communities in Massachusetts will return to Step 1 of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. Changes include limits on the gathering size of outdoor events, theaters and performance venues; reduced capacity (40%) for most sectors (including gyms, places of worship, retail, and offices); and guidelines for restaurants and their patrons. For a full list of changes, click here.

11-2-20 Targeted Measures To Curb Rising MA COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations. Due to public health data that shows cases are up by 278% and hospitalizations up by 145% since Labor Day, Governor Baker announced today that the following changes will be in effect as of Friday, November 6. For a full list of changes, click here.

9-29-20 Phase III Step 2 for Lower Risk Communities. According to mass.gov, lower risk communities are those that have not been deemed “red” in any of the last three weekly Department of Public Health weekly reports. For an explanation of what constitutes a red community, click here. Effective Monday, October 5, lower risk communities can:

  • increase performance venue capacity of outdoor and indoor performances to 50% with a max of 250 people
  • increase capacity for Step II activities (arcade and recreation businesses such as trampolines, obstacle courses, roller rinks, laser tag, etc.) to 50%
  • open fitting rooms in all retail stores
  • increase capacity for gyms, museums, libraries and driving and flight schools to 50%

In all communities, indoor gatherings remain at 25 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences remain at 50 people. For the full order, click here.

9-10-20 Phase III Reopening Update. In response to the success of outdoor dining and its benefit to the restaurant industry. Governor Baker signed an executive order to extend outdoor dining and alcohol services until November 1. “We hope this eases the burden on restaurants and extends their season for outdoor dining as well,” Baker stated at a press conference before signing the order. The order also allows indoor and outdoor gaming arcades to open their brick-and-mortar premises.

8-10-20 Executive Order on Outdoor Gatherings and New Restaurant Guidelines. Due to a slight uptick of COVID-19 cases in some communities, Governor Baker announced statewide rules for public and private gatherings.

Effective Tuesday, August 11,  according to a Baker-Polito administration press release, the order will:

  • Reduce the limit on outdoor gatherings from 100 to 50 people (indoor gatherings limit will remain at 25 people)
  • Apply these limits to all types of gatherings, on both public and private property
  • Require face coverings where more than 10 people from different households will be mixing.

Restaurant rules have also been updated to state that alcoholic beverages may only be consumed at restaurants if accompanied by food that is prepared on-site as well. The updated restaurant rules can be found here.

Public safety officials now have the jurisdiction to enforce these orders, and event hosts who violate of these orders will be subject to fines or cease and desist orders.

7-2-20 Phase III Reopening. Governor Baker announced that Step One of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan will begin on Monday, July 6, 2020. Under Phase III, additional industries will be allowed to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines.  Businesses included in Step One are:  

  • Casino gaming floors 
  • Fitness centers 
  • Museums and aquariums 
  • Indoor athletic fields and non-athletic recreational classes  
  • Movie and TV production 
  • Organized tours  
  • Post Secondary / Higher Ed/ Voc Tech / Occupational Schools Regular operations 

A date has not yet been set for Step Two of Phase III, but openings under this step will include:  

  • Indoor theaters, concert halls, and performance venues not otherwise designated as Phase IV 
  • Other Indoor recreational businesses (laser tag, roller skating rinks, trampolines, and obstacle courses) 

Face coverings are still required for all people over the age of two where a 6-foot distance can not be maintained.  

Also, the Department of Public Health has released updated Guidance on gatherings. Starting Monday, July 6th across the Commonwealth, and effective July 13th in Boston, indoor gatherings are limited to eight people per 1,000 square feet, but should not exceed 25 people in a single enclosed, indoor space. 

Outdoor gatherings in enclosed spaces are limited to 25 percent of the facility’s maximum permitted occupancy, with a maximum of 100 people in a single enclosed outdoor space. This includes community events, civic events, sporting events, concerts, conventions and more. This order does not apply to outdoor, unenclosed gatherings if proper social distancing measures are possible. 

Full details of the announcement can be found here

6-19-20 Step 2 of Phase II Reopening. Governor Baker announced that Step Two of Phase II of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan will begin on Monday, June 22, 2020. Under Step Two of Phase II, additional industries will be allowed to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines.  The Commonwealth will proceed to this next step given that public health data trends, such as new cases and hospitalizations, are trending down. Reopening Plan information can be found here.

In this step, the following will reopen effective Monday, June 22:

  • Indoor table service at restaurants;
  • Close contact personal services, with restrictions;
    • Hair removal and replacement
    • Nail care
    • Skin care 
    • Massage therapy
    • Makeup salons and makeup application services
    • Tanning salons
    • Tattoo, piercing and body art services
    • Personal training, with restrictions
  • Retail dressing rooms, by appointment only;
  • Offices, at 50 percent capacity

Guidance for each of the above can be found by clicking on links below:

Guidance for Restaurants

Guidance for Close-Contact Personal Services

Guidance for Other Industries

Guidance for Sectors Not Otherwise Addressed 

Before these sectors can resume operations under the guidelines, businesses must meet all safety standards, create a COVID-19 control plan, and complete a self-certification.

6-6-20 Phase II Reopening. Governor Baker on Saturday, June 6, 2020 announced that Step One of Phase II of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin on Monday, June 8th.

For details regarding the Reopening Plan in general, and Phase II specifically, click here.

The reopening is covered by an Executive Order issued by the Governor, which can be found here.

The announcement is consistent with the four-phased plan the Governor released on May 18th, and is supported by public health data. The data shows that since mid-April, the 7-day average for the positive COVID-19 test rate is down 82 percent, the 3-day average of hospitalized patients is down 55 percent, and the number of hospitals in surge is down 76 percent.

Effective Monday, June 8th, the following businesses will be eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase II, with contingencies:

  • Retail, with occupancy limits; 
  • Childcare facilities and day camps, with detailed guidance;
  • Restaurants, outdoor table service only;
  • Hotels and other lodgings, no events, functions or meetings;
  • Warehouses and distribution centers;
  • Personal services without close physical contact, such as home cleaning, photography, window washing, career coaching and education tutoring;
  • Post-secondary, higher education, vocational-tech and occupation schools for the purpose of completing graduation requirements; 
  • Youth and adult amateur sports, with detailed guidance;
  • Outdoor recreation facilities
  • Professional sports practices, no games or public admissions;
  • Non-athletic youth instructional classes in arts, education or life skills and in groups of less than 10;
  • Driving and flight schools 
  • Outdoor historical spaces, no functions, gatherings or guided tours; 
  • Funeral homes, with occupancy limits 

The following businesses will be eligible to reopen in Step Two of Phase II, on a date to be determined:

  • Indoor table service at restaurants
  • Close-contact personal services, with restrictions, including:
    • Hair removal and replacement 
    • Nail care
    • Skin care 
    • Massage therapy
    • Makeup salons and makeup application services
    • Tanning salons
    • Tattoo, piercing and body art services
    • Personal training, with restrictions

A full list and safety protocols for each service are available at www.mass.gov/reopening

Specifically, follow the links below for specific guidance related to the sector:

For the health care sector, care providers will resume in-person elective, non-urgent procedures and services, including routine office visits, dental visits and vision care subject to compliance with public health and safety standards. This will be done on an incremental basis. All other in-person medical, behavioral health, dental and vision services may also resume on June 8th, except for elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs, which will be included in Phase III. Telehealth must continue to be utilized and prioritized to the greatest extent possible, whenever feasible and appropriate.

Limited reopening of visitation to health care facilities may also begin, subject to infection control protocol, social distancing and face coverings.

For full guidance relating to hospitals, care facilities, and other health care providers, can be found here.

5-18-20 – Today Governor Baker released the report of the Reopening Advisory Board. The full report can be found here.

In short, the plan calls for a four phase approach that will over time methodically allow certain businesses, activities and services to resume, with the goal being to avoid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases and the overwhelming of our healthcare system. It is expected that each phase will last a minimum of three weeks, and if public health trends are positive, the next phase will start.

For information about transit click here, for higher education here, and for K-12 education, click here.

If you are wondering when your business or industry can re-open, or when shops and services can re-open, you can find that information here.

Please note that in general, activity in each of the business, service, recreational, worship and other areas listed, and for all other activities, is still subject to safe practices, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

What follows is a graphic of the plan that includes much of the detail relating to the social guidance, gathering sizes, travel, worship, businesses, health and human services, and recreational and outdoor activities.

Social Guidance, Gathering Size, Travel

Worship, Business

Health and Human Services, Recreation and Outdoor

Source: Reopening Massachusetts, 5/18/20

Please note that in general, activity in each of the business, service, recreational, worship and other areas listed, and for all other activities, is still subject to safe practices, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

The plan includes details about specific industries and businesses, including the following. To get more details regarding each, including the reopening phases and standards for each, just click on the highlighted business, industry, or service:

Campgrounds: Permitted to reopen 5/25/20

Car Washes: Permitted to reopen 5/18/20

Construction: Permitted to reopen 5/18/20

Hair Salons/Barbershops: Permitted to reopen 5/25/20

Manufacturing: Permitted to reopen 5/18/20

Office Spaces: Permitted to reopen 5/25/20

Parks, Open Space, and Outdoor Education Programs: Permitted to expand access beginning 5/25/20

Pet Grooming: Permitted to reopen 5/25/20

Recreational Boating: Permitted starting 5/18/20

Worship: Permitted to reopen 5/18/20