Massachusetts issued a revised Essential Services and Revised Gatherings Order that goes into effect at noon on March 24, 2020.  The Order is set forth here.  The Order requires that all businesses and organizations that do NOT provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” are to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public from Tuesday March 24, 2020 at noon until Tuesday April 7, 2020 at noon.

 Coronavirus, Essential Services

The Order generally identifies 14 business sectors that are “COVID-19 Essential Services” that may continue operations:

  • Healthcare, public health and human services
  • Law enforcement, public safety and first responders
  • Food and agriculture
  • Energy
  • Water and wastewater
  • Transportation and logistics
  • Public works
  • Communications and information technology
  • Community-based essential functions and government operations
  • Critical manufacturing
  • Hazardous materials
  • Financial services
  • Chemical
  • Defense industry
  • A non-exhaustive list of types of businesses and workers is detailed by category here.

A business that believes it is essential, or believes it is providing essential services or functions, may request to be designated as an essential business by completing this form.  Businesses not on the list are encouraged to continue operating remotely.

Restaurants, bars, and other retail establishments that sell food and beverage products may operate for take-out and delivery, so long as they comply with the Department of Public Health’s social distancing guidance.  Gatherings of more than 10 people are prohibited, with exceptions for certain outdoor areas.

Sheppard Mullin is committed to providing employers with updated information regarding COVID-19 and its impact on the workplace.  Stay informed on legal implications with Sheppard Mullin’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Insights page.

As you are aware, things are changing quickly and there is no clear-cut authority or bright line rules.  This is not an unequivocal statement of the law, but instead represents our best interpretation of where things currently stand.  This article does not address other the potential impacts of the numerous other local, state and federal orders that have been issued in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including, without limitation, potential liability should an employee become ill, requirements regarding family leave, sick pay and other issues.

*This alert is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice and is not intended to form an attorney client relationship.  Please contact your Sheppard Mullin attorney contact for additional information.*