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COVID-19 Orders: Enforcement Information

Resources for municipal officials and the public related to enforcement of COVID-19 Orders related to gatherings, travel, face-coverings and workplace reopening standards.

The Commonwealth has issued a series of orders designed to stop the spread of COVID-19 and keep Massachusetts residents and communities safe and healthy. Enforcement of these orders is a shared effort between the Commonwealth and municipalities. The below list summarizes orders related to gathering limits, travel restrictions, face-coverings, and workplace reopening standards. Each section includes a summary of the order, relevant information on enforcement, and resources for reporting non-compliance.

Click here for the full list of COVID-19 orders.

Table of Contents

Gathering Limits

Summary

Governor’s COVID-19 Order #54 provides the following limits on indoor and outdoor gatherings that do not meet certain exemptions:

  • Gatherings at Private Residences: 
    • Indoor gatherings at private residence and in any other place not falling within the definition of an event venue or public setting are limited to 10 people
    • Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in any other place not falling within the definition of an event venue or public setting are limited to 25 people
  • Indoor gatherings at event venues or in public settings are limited to 25 people
  • Outdoor gatherings at event venues or in public settings are subject to the following limits:
  • All indoor and outdoor gatherings must be conducted in a manner that insures that each participant can maintain at least 6 feet of physical distance from every other participant in the gathering, except where for participants who are members of the same household. 
  • All gatherings, no matter the size or location, must end and participants must disperse by 9:30PM, with the exception of religious gatherings and political gatherings
  • Organizers of gatherings are required to report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing.
  • Businesses and workplaces must follow the capacity limits (if any) in the health and safety standards for their sector. For more information see the Reopening Sector-Specific Protocols.

Enforcement

Who may enforce? The Department of Public Health, Local Boards of Health and their authorized agents, state and municipal police are directly responsible for enforcing the order.  

What enforcement measures may be taken against those in violation of Order #54?

  • A fine of up to $500 for each person above the limit at a particular gathering
  • Injunction through the district court or a court of competent jurisdiction
  • Suspension, revocation, or cancellation of an establishment’s liquor license by the ABCC
  • Other penalties or fines may apply if the gathering violates any other statute, regulation, ordinance, or bylaw, including local health regulations

Report Non-Compliance

Contact your local health department or submit the COVID Safe Practices Concern Form

Travel Restrictions

Summary

Governor’s COVID-19 Order #45 provides the following requirements related to travel to Massachusetts:

All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, must quarantine for 10 days in accordance with standards issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Public Health (“DPH”) unless

(a) the person is coming from a State designated by the Commissioner as a COVID-19 lower-risk State; or

(b) the person has received a negative test result for COVID-19 from a test performed on a sample taken not longer than 72 hours before the person’s arrival in Massachusetts and can produce proof of the negative test result on request; or

(c) the person falls within one of a number of limited, circumstance-specific exceptions or Commissioner Designated exceptions.

Travelers not falling into one of these exceptions must complete the Massachusetts Travel Form prior to arrival and quarantine for 10 days or until they receive a negative test result.

Review the entire order: Governor’s COVID-19 Order #45

Review the list of exemptions and the list of lower-risk states along with other details associated with the Travel Order at: www.mass.gov/MATraveler

Review the Department of Public Health’s Guidance.

Enforcement

Who may enforce? The Department of Public Health, Local Boards of Health and their authorized agents, state and municipal police, or any other agency that the Governor may formally designate at the request of the Commissioner of DPH

What enforcement measures may be taken against those in violation of Order #45?

  • A fine of up to $500 per violation.
  • Injunction through the district court or a court of competent jurisdiction

Report Non-Compliance

Contact your local health department or submit the COVID Safe Practices Concern Form

Face-Coverings

Summary

Governor’s COVID-19 Order #55 requires all persons to wear face-coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. Allows for an exception for residents who cannot wear a face-covering due to a medical or disabling condition, but allows employers to require employees to provide proof of such a condition. Allows schools to require that students participating in in-person learning provide proof of such a medical or disabling condition.

Visit Mass.Gov/MaskUp for information and best practices related to face-coverings. Also view Guidance and Frequently Asked Questions from the Department of Public Health.

Enforcement

Who may enforce? The Department of Public Health, Local Boards of Health and their authorized agents, state and municipal police. The MBTA Transit Police are authorized to enforce this Order on the MBTA bus, rail, and transit system.

What enforcement measures may be taken against those in violation of Order #55?

  • A fine of up to $300 per violation.
  • Injunction through the district court or a court of competent jurisdiction

Report Non-Compliance

Contact your local health department or submit the COVID Safe Practices Concern Form

Workplace Reopening Protocols

Summary

A series of orders issued by the Governor provide for a phased reopening of workplaces and establish mandatory health and safety standards to address COVID-19 that all enterprises must adopt on reopening to protect workers, customers, and the public.  Following mandates issued in the the re-opening orders, the Department of Labor Standards and the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs have issued a series of sector-specific protocols to customize these COVID-19 mandatory health and safety standards for a range of specific workplace sectors and other settings. 

Full details associated with the reopening plan are available on the Reopening Massachusetts website. You can also view reopening standards for workplaces and recreation.

The Reopening Orders are available here: Phase I | Phase II, Step 1 | Phase II, Step 2 | Phase III, Step 1 | Phase III, Step 2

Governor's COVID-19 Oder #53 also requires the early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30 PM.

Enforcement

Who may enforce? The Department of Labor Standards, the Department of Public Health, Local Boards of Health and their authorized agents, state and municipal police are directly responsible for enforcing the order.  Those agencies regularly coordinate with other agencies with specialized expertise and authority that are regularly involved in licensing and inspecting business establishments, the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC) and the Division of Professional Licensure (DPL).

What enforcement measures may be taken against those in violation of the reopening orders?

  • A fine of up to $300 per violation.
  • Injunction through the district court or a court of competent jurisdiction
  • Suspension, revocation, or cancellation of an establishment’s liquor license by the ABCC
  • Other penalties or fines may apply if the workplace violates any other statute, regulation, ordinance, or bylaw, including local health regulations

Report Non-Compliance

Contact your local health department or submit the COVID Compliance Form

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