Massachusetts law about COVID-19

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

Table of Contents

Best bets

New: How to get your at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 test for free, Centers for Medicaid & Medicare Services.
“Starting January 15 [2022], most people with a health plan can go online, or to a pharmacy or store to purchase an at-home over-the-counter COVID-19 diagnostic test authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at no cost, either through reimbursement or free of charge through their insurance.”

Every household in the U.S. is also eligible to order 4 free at-⁠home COVID-⁠19 tests provided by the federal government. Tests can be ordered here.

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 booster frequently asked questions 
Common questions related to COVID-19 vaccine booster doses including information on: booster recommendations, eligibility, and how to get a booster. 

COVID-19 eviction information
Information about court orders, the CDC eviction moratorium, court forms, and helpful resources.

COVID-19 mask requirements  
Learn about COVID-19 mask requirements in Massachusetts, current advisories from the Department of Public Health, and CDC guidelines.

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

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19
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 mental health resources.

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19: Employee rights and employer obligations
Guidance for employers and employees during the Coronavirus public health emergency 
including information on when employer vaccine mandates, employer testing mandates, and employer mask mandates.

Getting help with housing costs during COVID-19
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. 

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.

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

454 CMR 31.00: COVID-19 workplace safety regulations. 

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.

Web resources and organizations

Children and family resources

COVID-19 funeral assistance 
Under the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, FEMA will provide financial assistance for COVID-19-related funeral expenses incurred after January 20, 2020. 

COVID-19 resources from Rosie's Place A variety of resources for families compiled by Rosie’s Place. 

The Massachusetts Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence A resource to help find sexual assault or domestic violence programs in Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Department of Education COVID-19 information and resources DOE’s main page with information for school and parents regarding the effects of COVID-19 on the school system.

Debt collection

Attorney General's guidance on stimulus payments and debt collectors, March 17th, 2021: The Office of the Attorney General has released a guidance memo which in part states that economic impact payments issued according to the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 are exempt from seizure by creditors and debt collectors.

Coronavirus info for students, borrowers, and parents A webpage from Federal Student Aid outlining information about the impact of COVID-19 on student loans, including information on the U.S. Department of Education student loan payment pause until May 1, 2022. 

COVID-19 & consumer protections A page from the National Consumer Law Center that provides a list of resources to help families navigate their financial lives during these turbulent times. Topics include, but are not limited to, consumer protection, credit and debit issues, banking, and housing. The page is regularly updated as new information becomes available.

Labor, employment and unemployment resources

COVID-19 temporary emergency paid sick leave program
Under the terms of Chapter 16 of the Acts of 2021 (An Act Providing for Massachusetts COVID-19 Emergency Paid Sick Leave), employers are required to make paid leave time available to employees for COVID-related illnesses, quarantine, and vaccinations, and then may apply for reimbursement from the state. Effective Friday, May 28, 2021, and until April 1, 2022 or the exhaustion of $75 M in program funds as determined by the Commonwealth, whichever is earlier.

Workplace vaccination programs
A CDC resource that “explains the benefits of employee vaccination and can help employers implement employee vaccination either at the workplace or in the community.”

Executive Order on ensuring adequate COVID safety protocols for federal contractors, September 9th, 2021. 
Requiring vaccinations for all contractors that do business with the Federal government.

Executive Order requiring COVID-19 vaccinations for all federal employees, September 9th, 2021.  
Each agency shall implement, to the extent consistent with applicable law, a program to require COVID-19 vaccination for all of its Federal employees, with exceptions only as required by law. 

Frequently asked questions about COVID-19 for employees and employers. Provided by the Attorney General’s Fair Labor Division.  

HIPAA, COVID-19 vaccination, and the workplace, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Guidance on how HIPAA applies to disclosures and requests by employers about whether a person received a COVID-19 vaccine. 

Unemployment insurance benefits and returning to work: Guide for employersMass. Department of Unemployment Assistance
A Massachusetts guide for employers on unemployment benefits and returning to work provided in a clear Q&A format. 

Housing and utilities resources

Extension of tenant protections after the lifting of the state of emergency, Chapter 20 of the Acts of 2021.  This law is not an eviction moratorium but provides the following protections:  The courts must continue (delay) cases while an application for rental assistance is pending, through April 1st, 2022; Notices to quit for nonpayment must continue to show language about renter rights, through January 1, 2023; Notices to quit for nonpayment must continue to be copies to the state, through January 1, 2023.

COVID-19 and utilities A Mass Legal Help Resource page outlining protections against having utilities shut off. 

Eviction Diversion Initiative: Legal Services and Mediation This new statewide Housing Mediation Program administered by the MA Office of Public Collaboration (MOPC) and the MA Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD) is part of the Governor Baker's comprehensive Eviction Diversion Initiative to mitigate the harmful economic impacts of COVID-19 and prevent homelessness by keeping tenants stably housed and landlords from mortgage foreclosures. The MA Community Mediation Centers are offering free pre-court mediation between landlords and tenants for ​COVID-19 related lease disputes in addition to the summary process cases referred through the courts. 

Eviction Legal Help Project Free attorneys are available to assist low income tenants with COVID-related evictions and can also help low income owner occupants of two and three family properties with COVID-related evictions.


COVID-19: Protecting our families and communities Massachusetts Immigrant & Refugee Advocacy Coalition resource that includes public health resources in multiple languages and relevant information on immigration policy and enforcement.

Massachusetts COVID-19 resources available to immigrants and refugees
Learn about resources available to immigrants during the COVID-19 public health crisis.

Legal help

City of Boston immigration advancement resources
Do you need immigration advice from a lawyer? The Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Advancement offers free immigration consultations on the first and third Wednesday of every month from 12 to 3 p.m. To schedule an appointment with a volunteer lawyer, call (617) 635-2980 or email Interpretation and disability accommodations are available, and consultations are 15 minutes.

Community legal aid Provides free legal service for elderly and low income individuals living in Central and Western Mass. 

Eviction Legal Help Project Free attorneys are available to assist low income tenants with COVID-related evictions and can also help low income owner occupants of two and three family properties with COVID-related evictions.

Greater Boston legal services Provides free legal assistance and representation on civil (noncriminal) matters to hundreds of the neediest residents in the city of Boston and 31 surrounding cities and towns. 

Lawyers for Civil Rights Boston
Lawyers for Civil Rights provides representation, advice, and referrals primarily for residents of Massachusetts and surrounding communities who experience discrimination or harassment in employment, housing, education, or voting. We also provide free legal support to qualifying entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Massachusetts free legal answers
Free Legal Answers is a virtual legal advice clinic associated with the American Bar Association. 

Massachusetts legal resource finder
The Legal Resource Finder helps you find contact information for legal aid programs, nonprofits, government agencies and court programs that may be able to help you with your legal issue for free or at a low cost.

Print resources

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

Harnessing the power of mindfulness while dealing with the stress, anxiety & social isolation of COVID-19, by Filippa M. Anzalone, MCLE, 2020



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Last updated: April 11, 2022