TO:                  All Massachusetts Chiefs of Police 
                         Police Commissioner, City of Boston

FROM:            Heather E. Rowe, Director
                         Department of Labor Standards

DATE:             September 16, 2013                 

RE:                  Permits for Holiday Openings – Approved
                         Columbus Day (before 12:00 PM) - October 14, 2013
                         Veterans Day (before 1:00 PM) - November 11, 2013


The Department of Labor Standards must approve all local permits for retail stores and businesses to open on certain holidays, including Columbus Day before 12:00 PM. and Veterans Day before 1:00 PM.  Any business may open on Columbus Day after 12:00 PM or on Veterans Day after 1:00 PM without a permit.   Permits must be approved by the Department on a uniform basis statewide.  See Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 136, §§ 6(50), 7, 13, 15.

Provided there has been a statewide approval by the Department of Labor Standards, the police chief in each city and town in the Commonwealth has the discretion to issue a permit for businesses located in that municipality to open for business prior to the times specified in the General Laws, namely 12:00 PM on Columbus Day or 1:00 PM on Veterans Day.   Pursuant to the General Laws, police chiefs are not required to grant permits for these holidays.  In granting permits, chiefs may also impose reasonable terms and conditions appropriate to the nature of the business and the good of the community, at their discretion.

Please be advised that the Department of Labor Standards hereby approves, on a statewide basis, all permits issued by local police chiefs for openings by establishments prior to 12:00 PM on Columbus Day, October 14, 2013, and prior to 1:00 PM on Veterans Day, November 11, 2013. 

 Pursuant to Chapter 136, § 13, any retail establishment which operates on Columbus Day or the Veterans Day holiday must compensate employees who work on the holiday with time and one-half pay, and “such work shall be voluntary and refusal to work… shall not be grounds for discrimination, dismissal, discharge, reduction in hours, or any other penalty.”

For further information please view our Blue Laws guidance page on our website at or contact the Department of Labor Standards at (617) 626-6952.


Columbus and Veterans statewide permit approval 2013 pdf format of Columbus and Veterans statewide permit approval 2013