Massachusetts law about COVID-19

An archival record of laws, regulations, and cases on the coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19 public health emergency ended on May 11, 2023 in Massachusetts.

Please note: this page is no longer being updated regularly and is for historical research purposes only. If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, or if you have a specific question, please contact our law librarians for assistance.

Table of Contents

Best bets

Commonwealth of Massachusetts official state agency resources related to COVID-19, State Library of Massachusetts.
"Archived publications from Massachusetts state agencies related to the COVID-19 pandemic."

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.

St. 2023, c. 28, § 80 Higher education COVID-19 limited liability
Colleges and universities are immune to civil liability for damages caused by campus closures and the transition to remote classes during the COVID-19 emergency.

Federal laws

American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
Legislation provided nearly $1.9 trillion in economic relief in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, and several tax provisions. The ARPA expanded and extended many provisions originally enacted under the Families First Coronavirus Relief Act and the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.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 published additional information on what to expect.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
Legislation provided $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, provided critical pandemic aid to Americans, while securing federal agency operations through September 2021. Included 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, responded 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. 758 (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. 87 (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. 14 (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."

Sentencing, probation, and parole

Christie v. Commonwealth, 484 Mass. 397 (2020)
Analysis applied to motions to stay execution of a criminal defendant's sentence pending appeal, given the health risk to persons in custody arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Committee for Public Counsel Services v. Chief Justice of Trial Court, 484 Mass. 431 and 484 Mass. 1029 (2020)
Conditions for release of pretrial detainees and incarcerated individuals for medical release. 

Commonwealth v. McDermott, 488 Mass. 169 (2021)
"[W]hether a defendant previously has been infected or has been vaccinated should not be counted against the defendant when assessing the defendant's motion for a stay."

Foster v. Commissioner of Correction, 484 Mass. 698 (2020)
Judges should not make drug-treatment-related civil commitments absent a finding that the danger posed by an individual's substance abuse outweighed risk of transmission of COVID-19 in congregate settings. 

Contact   for Massachusetts law about COVID-19

Last updated: April 4, 2024

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