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COVID-19 State of Emergency

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.

Below is a list of orders issued by Governor Baker, the Department of Public Health and other state agencies to respond to COVID-19, along with associated guidance and other related resources.

Note: An order posted here remains in effect unless it is noted that the order has been rescinded or lapsed.

Table of Contents

Limits on Gatherings

  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #63 (issued February 4, 2021) Rescinded COVID-19 Order #57, established gathering limits of 10 people indoors; 25 people outdoors.
    • March 22 Appendix to COVID-19 Order #63 (issued March 18, 2021): Superseded gathering limits from above order and amended them as follows:
      • Gatherings at private residences: 10 people indoors, 25 people outdoors
      • Gatherings at event venues and in public settings: 100 people indoors, 150 people outdoors

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #62 (issued January 21, 2021) Extended the limits on gatherings in COVID-19 Order #59 until 5:00AM on February 8, 2021 unless further extended by a subsequent Order.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #60 (issued January 7, 2021) Extended the provisions of COVID-19 Order #59 until noon on January 24, 2021 unless further extended by a subsequent Order.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #59 (issued December 22, 2020) Applied limit of 10 persons for indoor gatherings, 25 persons for outdoor gatherings to both private homes and event venues and public spaces.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #57 (issued December 8, 2020) Reduced the limit on outdoor gatherings statewide from 100 persons to 50 persons. Sustained other gathering limits from Order #54. (adjusted by Order #59. Further adjustments were made by Order #62 which rescinded section 4)
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #54 (issued November 2, 2020) Reduced gathering size limit for gatherings at private residences: indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues remains the same. Requires that all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 PMAlso requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing. The gatherings order authorizes continued enforcement by local health and police departments and specifies that fines for violating the gathering order will be $500 for each person above the limit at a particular gathering. (superseded and rescinded by Order #57 effective Dec. 13, 2020)
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #52 (issued September 29, 2020) Made adjustments to gathering limits: (1) Indoor gatherings at all venues and locations limited to 25 people, (2) Outdoor gatherings at private residences limited to 50 people, (3) Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings (as further defined in the Order) (a) Lower Risk Communities - up to 100 people, (b) Communities that do not qualify as lower risk – up to 50 people (rescinded by Order #54)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #46 (issued August 7, 2020) Third revised gatherings order, which reduced the limit on outdoor gatherings from 100 to 50 and maintained the limit on indoor gatherings at 25 (rescinded by Order #52)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #44 (issued July 2, 2020) Raised the limit on outdoor and indoor gatherings to a maximum of 25 persons for indoor gatherings and 100 persons for outdoor gatherings (rescinded by Order #46)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #38 (issued June 6, 2020) Extended the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people and made clarifications to its application (rescinded by Order #44)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #30 (issued April 28, 2020) Extended the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people until May 18 (rescinded by Order #38)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #21 (issued March 31, 2020) Extended the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people until May 4 (rescinded by Order #30)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #13 (issued March 23, 2020) Prohibited gatherings of more than 10 people until April 7 (rescinded by Order #37)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #5 (issued March 15, 2020) Prohibited gatherings of more than 25 people (rescinded by Order #13)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #2 (issued March 13, 2020) Prohibited gatherings of more than 250 people (rescinded by Order #5)

Travel Restrictions

  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #66 (issued March 18, 2021): Rescinded COVID-19 Order #45 effective 12:01AM on March 22, 2021. Directed the Department of Public Health to issue in its place an Advisory for Travelers to Massachusetts to inform the public of appropriate safety measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #45 (issued July 24, 2020) Instituted mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers arriving in Massachusetts (rescinded by COVID-19 Order #66 effective March 22, 2021)

Note: Please visit Mass.Gov/MATraveler for the latest details on travel requirements.

Masks & Face-Coverings

  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #67 (issued April 29, 2021) Revised order requiring all persons to wear face-coverings when in indoor public places and when attending events and gatherings in public locations. Face-coverings required in public outdoor places when unable to maintain 6 feet of distance, or as otherwise specified by Sector-Specific COVID-19 Safety Rules.

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #55 (issued November 2, 2020) Revised order requiring 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. (rescinded by Order #67 effective 4/30, 12:01 AM).
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #31 (issued May 1, 2020) Required face-coverings in public places where social distancing is not possible and at all times on public transit and in retail settings (rescinded by Order #55 effective 11/6, 12:01AM)

Note: Please 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

Reopening Protocols & Business Restrictions

  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #68 (issued May 7, 2021) Permitted the opening of other Phase IV industries: Effective May 10, 2021, amusement parks, theme parks and outdoor water parks will be permitted to operate at a 50% capacity after submitting safety plans to the Department of Public Health. Road races and other large, outdoor organized amateur or professional group athletic events will be permitted to take place with staggered starts and other appropriate safety measures after submitting safety plans to a local board of health or the DPH.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #66 (issued March 18, 2021) Advanced the Commonwealth to Phase IV, Step 1 effective March 22, 2021
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #65 (issued February 25, 2021) Returned the Commonwealth to Phase III, Step 2 effective March 1, 2021.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #63 (issued February 4, 2021) Rescinded COVID-19 Order #57, which had applied a 25% capacity limit for most sectors. Sector Specific Protocols now specify a 40% limit for most sectors.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #62 (issued January 21, 2021) Extended the 25% capacity limits in COVID-19 Order #59 until 5:00AM on February 8, 2021 unless further extended by a subsequent Order. Also repealed the nightly 9:30 pm to 5:00 am mandatory closing period adopted in early November so that now:
    • restaurants, health clubs, casinos, and similar venues no longer need to close at 9:30 pm
    • retail sales of alcohol and adult use marijuana no longer must stop at 9:30 pm
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #60 (issued January 7, 2021) Extended the provisions of COVID-19 Order #59 until noon on January 24, 2021 unless further extended by a subsequent Order.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #59 (issued December 22, 2020) Applied 25% capacity limit to businesses and activities across most sectors. (view summary of restrictions)
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #58 (issued December 8, 2020) Required return to Phase III, Step 1 reopening for all Massachusetts communities. Made adjustments to Phase III, Step 1 protocols. (rescinded and superseded by Order #65)
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #56 (issued November 6, 2020) Revised provisions for Phase III reopening in municipalities with reduced incidence of COVID-19 infection (view DPH Guidance) (superseded and rescinded by Order #58)
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #53 (issued November 2, 2020) Required the early closure of certain businesses and activities each night at 9:30 PM. (note: the version of this Order linked here notes that the early closing provisions have been rescinded by Order #62; but the special allowance for renewal of licenses for the sale of on premises consumption of alcohol remain in place)
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #51 (issued September 29, 2020) Authorized reopening of Phase III enterprises (Step 2) in municipalities with reduced incidence of COVID-19 infection (superseded and rescinded by Order #56)
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #50 (issued September 10, 2020) Made certain Phase III adjustments, including extension of outdoor dining provisions and opening of indoor and outdoor gaming arcades
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #43 (issued July 2, 2020) Authorized reopening of Phase III enterprises (Step 1)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #40 (issued June 19, 2020) Authorized reopening of Phase II enterprises (Step 2)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #37 (issued June 6, 2020) Authorized reopening of Phase II enterprises (Step 1)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #35 (issued June 1, 2020) Clarified the progression of the Commonwealth’s phased reopening plan and authorized certain reopening preparations at Phase II workplaces
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #33 (issued May 18, 2020) Implemented phased reopening of workplaces, imposed workplace safety measures to address COVID-19, and authorized reopening of Phase I enterprises

Note: Please visit the Reopening Massachusetts website for the latest details on the Commonwealth’s reopening process.

Early Education & Child Care

  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #49 (issued August 28, 2020) Authorized arrangements for child care and supervision during the school day to accommodate remote learning
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #41 (issued June 26, 2020) Authorized the reopening of child care programs, and rescinded the authorization for emergency child care programs and 8 other orders
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #36 (issued June 1, 2020) Authorized preparations for the reopening of child care programs, and for the issuance of minimum health and safety standards for child care programs
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #26 (issued April 16, 2020) Authorized the creation and operation of emergency residential programs and emergency placement agencies for children

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

Note: Please visit the Department of Early Education and Care's website for details on reopening early education & child care in the Commonwealth.

K-12 Schools

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

Note: Please visit the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s website for details on K-12 reopening in the Commonwealth.

Recreation & Beaches

  • DPH Order (issued October 22, 2020) regarding operation of indoor ice rinks and indoor ice skating and hockey facilities
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #34 (issued May 18, 2020) Expanded access to and use of state beaches and addressed other outdoor recreational activities

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

Note: Please visit the Executive Office of Environmental Affairs’ website for guidance and directives related to the reopening of outdoor recreational activities and businesses

Pharmacy & Grocery Operations

  • DPH Order (issued April 4, 2020) regarding the COVID Pharmacy Assistance Team
  • DPH Order (issued April 3, 2020) Permitted licensed pharmacies to create and sell hand sanitizer over the counter (replaces a previous March 15 order)
  • DPH Order (issued March 24, 2020) regarding modifications to pharmacy practice (View Guidance, see Pharmacies section)
  • DPH Order (issued March 18, 2020) regarding the administration of certain medications for the treatment of opioid misuse disorder (view Guidance)

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

  • DPH Order (issued March 25, 2020) Addressed the operation of grocery stores and pharmacies (Guidance issued April 7) (Rescinded by DPH Order of July 10)

Health Insurance

  • DPH Order (Issued February 9, 2021) Authorizes the sharing of COVID-19 vaccination information from the Massachusetts Immunization Information System with MassHealth and other health insurers. View Guidance.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #61 (issued January 21, 2021) Rescinds COVID-19 Orders #4 and #25. Continues certain requirements for out-of-network billing when an insured patient is treated for COVID-19 at a hospital or other provider that is not in-network for the patient’s plan.
  • DPH Order (issued July 22, 2020) Prohibited billing uninsured individuals for COVID-19 testing
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #25 (issued April 9, 2020) Mandated that insurers cover all medically required emergency and inpatient services for COVID-19 treatment without any cost sharing (rescinded by Order #61)
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #4 (issued March 15, 2020): Required insurers to cover all medically necessary telehealth services and that such services be reimbursed at the same rate as in-person services. For COVID-19 treatment, insurers are required to provide telehealth services without cost-sharing (rescinded by Order #61)

Health Care Workforce

  • DPH Order (issued March 25, 2021) authorizing additional individuals to administer COVID-19 vaccination (view Guidance)
  • DPH Order (revised December 22, 2020; replaces DPH order issued October 6, 2020) relative to healthcare personnel influenza vaccination in long-term care facilities, adult day health programs and out of hospital dialysis units (view Guidance)
  • DPH Order, (issued December 23, 2020) relative to healthcare personnel influenza vaccination in certain state-operated facilities
  • DPH Order (issued October 6, 2020) relative to influenza vaccination for healthcare personnel at assisted living facilities
  • DPH Order (issued May 12, 2020) relative to certified nurse aide training
  • DPH Order (issued April 28, 2020) relative to staffing ratios in out-of-hospital dialysis units
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #24 (issued April 9, 2020) Authorized nursing practice by nursing school graduates and students in their final semester of nursing education programs (view Guidance)
  • DPH Order (issued April 3, 2020) relative to expanded practice by advanced practice registered nurses at Department of Mental Health facilities
  • DPH Order (issued April 3, 2020) Expanded the availability of certain health care providers (replaced previous March 29 order) (View Guidance)
  • DPH Order (issued March 29, 2020) Authorized DPH’s Office of Preparedness and Emergency Management to conduct CORI checks on volunteers who register with MA Responds to respond to the COVID-19 emergency without a notarized CORI Acknowledgement Form
  • DPH Order (issued March 26, 2020) Addressed independent prescriptive practice for advanced practice registered nurses (view Guidance)
  • DPH Order (issued March 18, 2020) regarding the sharing of critical information with first responders (view Guidance)
  • DPH Order (issued March 18, 2020) regarding the flexible reassignment of Physicians Assistants (view Guidance)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #8 (issued March 17, 2020) Extended registration of certain licensed health care professionals
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #7 (issued March 17, 2020) Expanded access to physician services
  • DPH Order (issued March 17, 2020) Implemented emergency credentialing and licensed staff transfer procedures for medical facilities in the Commonwealth (view Guidance)
  • Board of Registration in Nursing Policy (issued March 11, 2020) Expedited 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

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

  • DPH Order (issued May 18, 2020) Exempts certain hospitals from the nurse staffing requirements of M.G.L. c. 111, § 231 (view related Attestation Form)
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #23 (issued April 9, 2020) Provided accelerated licensing of physicians educated in foreign medical schools (rescinded by COVID-19 Order #41, but required the Board of Registration in Medicine to ensure that licenses issued pursuant to the April 9 Order remain valid for 2 years from the date of issuance)

Health Care Delivery

  • DPH Order (issued February 3, 2021) regarding vaccine reporting to the Massachusetts Immunization Information System (MIIS)
  • DPH Order (issued April 6, 2020) regarding submission of written follow up procedures for oral prescriptions (view Guidance)
  • DPH Order (issued March 24, 2020) Exempted certain activities that are necessary to address COVID-19 from determination of need approval(view Guidance)
  • DPH Order (issued March 17, 2020) relative to Emergency Medical Services Care

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

Labs & Hospitals

  • DPH Order (issued January 12, 2021) regarding temporary laboratory licenses for COVID-19 testing
  • DPH Order (issued April 28, 2020) Allowed certain referrals to clinical laboratories for COVID-19 testing
  • DPH Order (issued April 8, 2020) regarding collection of complete demographic information on patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19
  • DPH Order (issued March 15, 2020) relative to hospital visitor restrictions (view Guidance issued June 6, which replaced Guidance issued March 16)

Congregate Care

  • DPH Order (issued March 12, 2021) regarding medication administration in long-term care facilities by certain members of the Massachusetts National Guard
  • DPH Order (issued December 7, 2020) related to COVID-19 testing in congregate care sites
  • DPH Order (issued November 5, 2020) regarding control of COVID-19 in long-term care facilities
  • DPH Order (issued July 2, 2020) regarding provision of day program services provided in group settings (replaced previous Order issued March 24)
  • DPH Order (issued April 2, 2020) regarding the provision of skilled nursing care in Assisted Living Residences (view Guidance)
  • DPH Order (issued April 1, 2020) regarding administration of certain medications in Community Programs
  • DPH Order (issued March 29, 2020) regarding long-term care facility resident transfers and discharges
  • DPH Order (issued March 15, 2020) Restricted visitors at assisted living facilities (view Guidance)
  • DPH Order (issued March 12, 2020) Restricted visitors at nursing and rest homes (view Guidance)

State Permits, Licenses & Inspections

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

Registry of Motor Vehicles

  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #64Amends COVID-19 Order #47 so as to permit drivers who renewed their license or identification for a standard ID during the State of Emergency to upgrade to a REAL ID at no extra cost beginning on a date set by the Registrar.
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #47 (issued August 11, 2020) Extension of second order authorizing actions to limit in-person transactions at the RMV
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #11 (issued March 20, 2020) First order authorizing actions to limit in-person transactions at the RMV

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

Note: Please visit the Registry of Motor Vehicle’s website to learn more about accessing RMV services during COVID-19.

Governor's Council

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

Essential Services (Archive)

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders;

Note: The Commonwealth’s “Reopening Massachusetts” process is now underway, and all businesses and organizations should review that process to determine when they are permitted to reopen. All businesses and organizations that provided COVID-19 Essential Services were included in Phase 1 of the reopening plan. The Essential Services List remains published for reference only. It may be viewed here.

Miscellaneous / Other

  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #48 (issued August 18, 2020) Amended the administration of penalties issued pursuant to certain COVID-19 Orders
  • Governor’s COVID-19 Order #1 (issued March 12, 2020) Suspended certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law
  • DPH Guidance (issued April 28, 2020) related to the operation of nurseries, greenhouses, garden centers, and agricultural supply stores (replaced previous April 4 Guidance)
  • DPH Guidance (issued April 28, 2020) regarding hotels and motels (view FAQ) (view previous March 31 Guidance and April 2 FAQ)

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

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