COVID-19 Taskforce Alert

Massachusetts To Lift All COVID-19 Industry Restrictions on May 29, and End State of Emergency on June 15

May 17, 2021

This morning, Governor Charlie Baker made a major announcement accelerating the Massachusetts COVID-19 reopening plan.

On May 29, 2021, the Commonwealth will lift all industry COVID restrictions and lift all capacity limits currently in place. 

On June 15, 2021, the Commonwealth will terminate the current state of emergency.  This will have a variety of implications for business and government services.  For instance, the exception to the open meeting law authorizing government entities to hold remote public meetings will end.  Similarly, the expiration dates of municipal zoning and land use permits, which were suspended during the state of emergency, will be reinstated.  The ability of bars and restaurants to sell “to-go” alcohol with takeout food orders will also end.  Any business or industry that has benefitted from a state of emergency exception should monitor closely how its conduct may need to change as of June 15, 2021.

On May 29, 2021, the Massachusetts face covering order will be rescinded, and will be replaced by the CDC guidance.  (This guidance, most recently updated on May 16, 2021, allows fully vaccinated individuals to resume activities without wearing a mask except where masking is otherwise required by federal, state, or local law or by local business and workplace guidance.)  Businesses may continue to set their own requirements on masking. The Department of Public Health will issue a public health advisory urging unvaccinated individuals to wear masks in indoor settings.

The Department of Public Health will also issue new a new public health advisory mandating face coverings for both vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals in a limited number of places – including health care facilities and provider offices, congregate living facilities (nursing homes, assisted living facilities, shelters, and incarceration facilities), public and private transit locations and vehicles (including MBTA, Commuter Rail, airplanes, taxis, and rideshares), K-12 public schools, and indoor child care programs. 

Finally, starting on May 18, 2021, masks will no longer be required for K-12 outdoor activities (such as recess), or for outdoor youth and amateur sports.  All youth and amateur sports restrictions will be lifted on May 29, 2021.

Foley Hoag has formed a firm-wide, multi-disciplinary task force dedicated to client matters related to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). For more guidance on your COVID-19 issues, visit our Resource Page or contact your Foley Hoag attorney.