Reopening: Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces

As of May 29, all remaining COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted. These standards applied universally to all reopening workplaces, and were designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers.

The reopening plan called for ending restrictions when vaccines became widely available, and effective May 29, 2021 all industries were permitted to open. With the exception of remaining face-covering requirements for public and private transportation systems and facilities housing vulnerable populations, all industry restrictions were also lifted, and capacity increased to 100% for all industries. All industries are encouraged to follow CDC guidance for cleaning and hygiene protocols.


Table of Contents


The Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center developed new Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards in consultation with the Reopening Advisory Board. These new standards will apply universally to all reopening workplaces, and are designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers during the first phase of reopening, and are applicable to all sectors and industries.

These safety standards will be supplemented by sector-specific safety protocols and recommended best practices, which will provide further details and limited exceptions.

Social Distancing

  • All persons, including employees, customers, and vendors should remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside workplaces
  • Establish protocols to ensure that employees can practice adequate social distancing
  • Provide signage for safe social distancing
  • Require face coverings or masks for all employees

Hygiene Protocols

  • Provide hand washing capabilities throughout the workplace
  • Ensure frequent hand washing by employees and adequate supplies to do so
  • Provide regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site

Staffing and Operations

  • Provide training for workers regarding COVID-19 safety which includes at least:

    • Signs and symptoms of COVID-19;

    • Risk of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19;

    • Employee and employer requirements under COVID-19 Workplace Safety Regulations, including sector specific standards;

    • Anti-retaliation protection available under 454 CMR 31.00

  • Training shall be documented, and provided at no cost to the employee during working hours

  • Employees who are displaying COVID19-like symptoms do not report to work

  • Establish a plan for employees getting ill from Covid-19 at work, and a return-to-work plan

  • Employers should take measures to ensure employees comply with all State-issued rules concerning out of state Travel for any employer-paid or -reimbursed travel

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Establish and maintain cleaning protocols specific to the business
  • When an active employee is diagnosed with COVID19, cleaning and disinfecting must be performed
  • Disinfection of all common surfaces must take place at intervals appropriate to said workplace

Sector Specific Safety Protocols and Best Practices

Mandatory safety protocols and recommended best practices for sectors that are eligible to open in Phases 1, 2, 3 and Phase 4 (Step 1). Additional sector guidance for future phases will be issued at a later date. 

Poster and Translations

Posters that businesses can print and display within the business premises regarding these mandatory standards for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations, and cleaning and disinfecting.

Additional Resources

Last updated: May 29, 2021

Help Us Improve  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.