This page, COVID-19 State of Emergency, is part of
This page, COVID-19 State of Emergency, is offered by

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Note: An order posted here remains in effect unless it is noted that the order has been rescinded or lapsed.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 #52 (issued September 29, 2020) Made adjustments to gathering limits: 
    • Indoor gatherings at all venues and locations limited to 25 people
    • Outdoor gatherings at private residences limited to 50 people
    • Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings (as further defined in the Order):
      • Lower Risk Communities - up to 100 people
      • Communities that do not qualify as lower risk – up to 50 people

Rescinded/Lapsed Orders:

Travel Restrictions

Note: Please review the MA Travel Order website and DPH Guidance for the latest details on the travel order.

Masks & Face-Coverings

  • 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

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

  • 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
  • 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

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 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
  • 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

Health Care Workforce

  • 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 24, 2020) Exempted hospitals from the nurse staffing requirements of M.G.L. c. 111, § 231
  • 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:

  • 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 June 24, 2020) related to non-essential elective procedures (view Guidance) (replaces previous June 6 Order and Guidance and May 18 Order and Guidance)
  • 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 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 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

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

  • DPH Order (issued September 8) related to the operation of farmers markets, farm stands, and CSAs (replaces previous April 27 Order)
  • 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:

Feedback