COVID-19 State of Emergency

Updates, emergency orders, and guidance associated with the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

On March 10, Governor Charlie Baker declared a state of emergency, giving the Administration more flexibility to respond to the Coronavirus outbreak. The Administration continues to take steps to limit the spread of COVID-19:

Table of Contents

Updates, Emergency Orders, and Guidance:

MEDICATION ADMINISTRATION IN COMMUNITY PROGRAMS: On April 1, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order regarding administration of certain medications in Community Programs. ORDER

EXTENSION OF NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESS CLOSURE: On March 31, Governor Baker issued an order extending the closure of non-essential businesses and organizations for in-person operations until May 4. 
ORDER | ESSENTIAL SERVICES LISTPRESS RELEASE

PROHIBITING GATHERINGS OF 10 OR MORE: On March 31, Governor Baker issued an order extending the prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more people until May 4. 
ORDER | GUIDANCE

HOTEL & MOTEL GUIDANCE: On March 31, the Department of Public Health released guidance for hotels and motels related to the Governor's order extending the prohibition on gatherings of 10 or more.
ORDER | GUIDANCE

STAY-AT-HOME ADVISORY: On March 31, the Department of Public Health announced that is Stay-At-Home Advisory issued on March 24 remains in effect. ADVISORY

SHAREHOLDER MEETINGS BY PUBLIC COMPANIES: On March 30, Governor Baker issued an emergency order regarding  the conduct of shareholder meetings by public companies. ORDER

EOHHS ADJUSTMENTS TO ESSENTIAL PROVIDER RATES: On March 30, Governor Baker issued an emergency order authorizing the Executive Office of Health and Human Services to adjust essential provider rates. ORDER

MAXIMIZING AVAILABLE HEALTH CARE PROVIDERS: On March 29, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order expanding the availability of certain health care providers. ORDER

LTCF TRANSFERS AND DISCHARGES: On March 29, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order regarding long-term care facility resident transfers and discharges. ORDER

MA RESPONDS CORI CHECKS: On March 29, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order authorizing DPH’s Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management to conduct BORI checks on volunteers who register with MA Responds to respond to the COVID-19 emergency without a notarized CORI Acknowledgement Form. ORDER

PERMIT EXTENSIONS: On March 26, Governor Baker issued an emergency order suspending state permitting deadlines and extending the validity of state permits. ORDER

BUSINESS LICENSURE: On March 26, Governor Baker issued an emergency order extending certain professional licenses, permits, and registrations issued by Commonwealth agencies. ORDER

APRN PRESCRIPTIVE PRACTICE:  On March 26, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order addressing independent prescriptive practice for advanced practice registered nurses. 
ORDER | GUIDANCE

K-12 SCHOOL CLOSURES: On March 25, Governor Baker issued an extension of the suspension of school operations for educational purposes at all public and private elementary and secondary (K-12) schools in the Commonwealth (not including residential and day schools for special needs students) until May 4. 
ORDER | PRESS RELEASE

EARLY EDUCATION: On March 25, Governor Baker issued an extension of the closure of all non-emergency childcare programs. Emergency childcare programs, as designated by the Commonwealth remain open. 
ORDER | PRESS RELEASE | MORE

GROCERY STORE AND PHARMACY OPERATIONS: On March 25, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order addressing operation of grocery stores and pharmacies. ORDER

NURSE STAFFING: On March 24, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order exempting hospitals from the nurse staffing requirements of M.G.L. c. 111, §231. ORDER

DETERMINATION OF NEED: On March 24, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order exempting certain activities from determination of need approval, that are necessary to address COVID-19. ORDER | GUIDANCE

PHARMACY PRACTICE: On March 24, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order regarding modifications to pharmacy practice. ORDER | GUIDANCE (see Pharmacies section)

DAY PROGRAMS: On March 24, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order regarding provision of day program services provided in group settings. ORDER

CANNABIS CONTROL COMMISSION HAND SANITIZER ORDER: On March 23, the Department of Public Health issued an order permitting facilities licensed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to create and donate hand sanitizer to certain entities. ORDER

CREMATION VIEWING: On March 23, the Department of Public Health issued an order regarding modification of certain requirements for inspections by the Chief Medical Examiner. ORDER

LIMITING RMV IN-PERSON VISITS: On March 20, Governor Baker issued an order allowing the Registrar to extend vehicle registrations and modify the conditions of registrations, plates and titles. It also enables the waiver of certain inspection requirements. PRESS RELEASE | ORDER

SMOKE ALARM INSPECTIONS: On March 20, Governor Baker issued an order making a change to the inspection statutes that require a smoke and carbon dioxide alarm inspection prior to a residential real estate transaction. PRESS RELEASE | ORDER

PROFESSIONAL LICENSURE: On March 18, Governor Baker signed an emergency order extending professional licenses. ORDER

LOCAL BOARDS OF HEALTH & EMS: On March 18, the Department of Public Health issued an order regarding the sharing of critical information with first responders: ORDER

PHARMACISTS & OPIOID MISUSE DISORDER MEDICATION: On March 18, the Department of Public Health issued an order regarding the administration of certain medications for the treatment of opioid misuse disorder: ORDER | GUIDANCE

PHYSICIAN ASSISTANTS: On March 18, the Department of Public Health issued an order regarding the flexible reassignment of Physicians Assistants: ORDER | GUIDANCE

HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS' REGISTRATION: On March 17, Governor Baker issued an order extending the registration of certain health care professionals' licenses. ORDER

ACCESS TO PHYSICIANS' SERVICES: On March 17, Governor Baker issued an order expanding access to physicians' services. ORDER

EMS CARE: On March 17, the Department of Public Health issued an order relative to Emergency Medical Services Care: ORDER

EMERGENCY CREDENTIALING: On March 17, the Department of Public Health issued an order implementing emergency credentialing and licensed staff transfer procedures for medical facilities in the Commonwealth: ORDER | GUIDANCE

HOSPITAL VISITOR RESTRICTIONS: On March 15, the Department of Public Health issued hospital visitor restrictions. ORDER | GUIDANCE

ASSISTED LIVING VISITOR RESTRICTIONS. On March 15, the Department of Public Health issued visitor restrictions for assisted living facilities. ORDER | GUIDANCE

PHARMACY HAND SANITIZER ORDER: On March 15, the Department of Public Health issued an order permitting licensed pharmacies to create and sell hand sanitizer over the counter. ORDER | GUIDANCE

ELECTIVE PROCEDURES: On March 15, the Department of Public Health issued an order mandating that hospitals must cancel non-essential elective procedures. ORDER | GUIDANCE

TELEHEALTH: The Department of Public Health has issued guidance that requires all commercial insurers, self-insured plans, and the Group Insurance Commission to cover medically necessary telehealth services, whether related to COVID-19 or not.  For COVID-19 treatment, insurers must do this without requiring cost-sharing of any kind, such as co-pays and coinsurance. PRESS RELEASE | ORDER

OPEN MEETING LAW MODIFICATIONS: On March 12, Governor Baker issued an emergency order making modifications to the state’s Open Meeting Law to allow state, quasi and local governments to continue to carry out essential functions during the COVID-19 outbreak. PRESS RELEASE | ORDER

NURSING HOME VISITORS RESTRICTED: On March 12, the Department of Public Health issued an emergency order restricting visitor access to nursing homes and rest homes to protect higher-risk populations from COVID-19. PRESS RELEASE | ORDER | GUIDANCE

NURSING LICENSURE CHANGES: On March 11, the Board of Registration in Nursing updated its policies to expedite the processing of reciprocal license applications for nurses that are licensed in another jurisdiction to allow those applications to be processed in one business day. POLICY

Feedback