Massachusetts law about COVID-19

A compilation of laws, regulations, cases, and web sources on the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Table of Contents

Best bets

Court system response to COVID-19 Massachusetts Court System
News and information on actions being taken by Massachusetts state courts in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Includes standing orders issued by the courts, as well as other guidance from court departments and administrators.

COVID-19 vaccination program Mass.gov
View the latest updates about the COVID-19 vaccine in Massachusetts, including the vaccination timeline, frequently asked questions, and vaccine authorization materials. See also COVID-19 booster frequently asked questions.

Facing eviction? We can help Mass. Dept. of Housing and Community Development
Resources for renters, homeowners and landlords. The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has resources available for individuals and families struggling to make rent or mortgage payments due to COVID-19 including the Eviction Diversion Initiative. See also: Emergency housing payment assistance during COVID-19.

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 Mass.gov
A resource highlighting some of the most frequently asked questions about COVID-19 in Massachusetts including information regarding: the disease itself, testing, quarantining, mask requirements, reopening, gathering restrictions, travel recommendations, and health resources.

Information on the outbreak of Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) The Massachusetts Department of Public Health 
The Commonwealth’s main information page on COVID-19. Features links to data on current cases, Executive Orders related to the State of Emergency, and details on the Coronavirus as well as travel information related to COVID-19 including traveling to or visiting Massachusetts, international travel advisories and travel insurance information.

Resources during COVID-19 Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office
A link to the website of the Attorney General’s Office. Providing information on your rights as an employee, earned sick time, protecting yourself from scams and frauds, child care, health-care and insurance, students and student borrowers, immigrants, protecting your civil rights and small businesses in multiple languages. See also Frequently asked questions about COVID-19: Employee rights and employer obligations.

Massachusetts laws

Massachusetts law on COVID-19 Massachusetts legislation that has been passed regarding COVID-19. 

An act promoting a resilient health care system that puts patients first Massachusetts legislation that includes expanding access to telehealth after the COVID-19 public health emergency ends.

Massachusetts regulations

400 CMR 6.00: Notices to Quit During COVID-19 
All landlords must give tenants an attestation form and submit a copy of any Notice to Quit for nonpayment of rent given to a residential tenant to the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development. This is required by 400 CMR 6.00 / Section 1 of Chapter 257 of the Acts of 2020 and has been extended until January 1st, 2023, through An Act Relative to Extending Certain COVID-19 Measures During the State of Emergency, Section 13, Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021. The form, instructions on filling out the form and how to file the form with the EOHED can be found on the page Notice to Quit Attestation Form and Submission Information.

Federal laws

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
Legislation providing nearly $1.9 trillion in economic relief in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and several tax provisions. The ARPA expands and extends many provisions originally enacted under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The White House Blog has more information on what to expect.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Legislation providing $2 trillion in economic relief in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, including direct payments to Americans, an expansion of unemployment insurance, and aid to businesses.

COVID-19 Economic Relief Bill
Signed into law on December 27th, 2020, provides critical pandemic aid to Americans, while securing federal agency operations through September 2021. Includes modifications and extension of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and the Cares Act.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Signed into law on March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act responds to the Coronavirus outbreak by providing paid sick leave and free Coronavirus testing, expanding food assistance and unemployment benefits, and requiring employers to provide additional protections for health care workers.

Selected cases

Alabama Association of Realtors v. Department of Health and Human Services, 594 U. S. ____ (2021) 
The United States Supreme Court has blocked the extension of the CDC moratorium on evictions saying: "If a federally imposed eviction moratorium is to continue, Congress must specifically authorize it."

Biden v. Missouri, 595 U. S. ____ (2022) 
The United States Supreme Court rejected a federal rule mandating COVID-19 vaccinations or testing for large employers while holding that the Secretary of Health and Human Services had statutory authority to issue a vaccine mandate covering staff at federally funded health facilities.

​​Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn v. Cuomo, 592 U. S. ____ (2021)
The Supreme Court granted requests from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn and two Orthodox Jewish synagogues to block enforcement of a New York executive order limiting attendance in places of worship.

Commonwealth v. Lougee, 485 Mass. 70 (2020)
Discussion of tolling of time limits on the pretrial detention of criminals and youthful offenders under emergency court orders issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. "We hold that the periods of delay resulting from continuances in these cases, pursuant to our emergency orders, should have been excluded from the computation of the time limits on pretrial detention under G. L. c. 276, §§ 58A and 58B."

Commonwealth v. Nash, and Commonwealth v. Elibert, 486 Mass. 394 (2020)
Recently, in Christie v. Commonwealth, 484 Mass. 397, 401-402 ,“We (SJC) held that the pandemic is a factor for judges to consider when ruling on requests for stays (of execution of sentences). In the cases now before us, we provide additional guidance as to how, specifically, that factor ought to be taken into account.”

Derosiers v. Governor, 486 Mass. 369 (2020)
The State's Civil Defense Act provided authority for the Governor to declare a state of emergency, and issue emergency orders, relating to COVID-19.

Mushwaalakbar v. Commonwealth, 487 Mass. 627 (2021)
Revisiting the holding of Commonwealth v. Lougee, the SJC recognizes that as the effects of COVID-19 are ongoing “certain defendants are entitled to hearings on motions for reconsideration of § 58A orders to determine whether the length of detention violates due process.”

Vasquez Diaz v. Commonwealth, 487 Mass. 336 (2021)
The SJC concluded that a virtual hearing is not a per se violation of the defendant's constitutional rights in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Verveine Corp. v. Strathmore Insurance Company, 489 Mass. 534 (2022)
Economic losses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic are not covered under standard commercial property insurance policies because loss of revenue is not a "direct physical loss of or damage to property."

Print resources

COVID-19 & recent developments in veterans' benefits: the Gitta M. Kurlat lecture, by Anna Schleelein Richardson, MCLE, 2021

COVID-19 employment law landmines & best practices a year into the pandemic, by Jaclyn L, Kawka, MCLE, 2021

Divorce and the marital home in the age of COVID-19, Massachusetts Bar Association, 2021

Guide to eviction actions & defenses in a pandemic world, by Catherine F. Downing, MCLE, 2021

How COVID-19 is impacting criminal law practice: the 60 minute lawyer, by Daniel J. Cloherty, MCLE, 2020

Impact of COVID-19 on civil litigation: the 60 minute lawyer, by Theodore J. Folkman, MCLE, 2020

Infectious disease litigation: science, law, and procedure, edited by Davis M. Walsh and Samuel L. Tarry, American Bar Association, 2021

Post-COVID employment: remote work, office return, vaccine mandates & choice of law issues, by David E. Belfort, MCLE, 2022

Proving long term COVID disability claims, by Linda L. Landry, MCLE, 2021

Public health law in a nutshell, by James G. Hodge Jr, West Academic, 2022

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Last updated: September 23, 2022
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