Phased Reopening per Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Currently in: Phase IV, Step 2

Department of Labor Standards sector-specific safety standards effective May 10

Effective April 30ththe Face Coverings Order will be relaxed for some outdoor settings. Face coverings will only be required outside in public when it is not possible to socially distance, and at other times required by sector-specific guidance. 

Face coverings will still be required at all times in indoor public places. Face coverings will also continue to be required at all times at events, whether held indoors or outdoors and whether held in a public space or private home, except for when eating or drinking. 

Phase IV, Step 1 of Re-opening Massachusetts (effective March 22, 2021)

 This includes the following updates to businesses, activities and capacities:

In addition to former operations the following industries may reopening following sector specific guidelines.

  • Construction (03.22.21)  
  • Fitness Centers and Health Clubs (03.22.21) 
  • Indoor and Outdoor Events (03.22.21) 
  • Laboratories (03.22.21) 
  • Operators of Lodgings (03.22.21) 
  • Museums / Cultural & Historical Facilities / Guided Tours (03.22.21) 
  • Office Spaces (03.22.21) 
  • Restaurants (03.22.21) 
  • Retail Businesses (03.22.21) 
  • Theaters and Performance Venues (03.22.21)

For detailed information on the sector-specific changes and protocols visit: Reopening: Sector-specific protocols and best practices | 

Sector-specific workplace safety rules for Phase IV, Step 1 enterprises and revisions to Phase I, II, and III enterprises as needed. • sector-specific rules for large capacity venues specified in section 2 of the order. • requirements for compliance with sector-specific safety rules and mechanisms for enforcement in COVID-19 Order No. 43 apply to Phase IV, Step 1 enterprises. • any penalty issued in an enforcement action shall be administered as provided in COVID-19 order number 48.

For more information visit:

Recreational Camps and Programs Reopening Guidelines

  • All Camps and Programs: Staff must be assigned to the same cohort for the duration of the program session. 
  • Cohorts must not be combined at any time and staff must not float between cohorts, unless needed to provide supervision of specialized activities or to provide breaks for other staff. 
  • May have multiple cohorts of campers and counselors in the same area, but must maintain separation between cohorts and comply with the Governor’s most recent Gathering Order. 
  • Ensure campers/staff belongings are stored in a manner to prevent groups congregating. 
  • Stagger use of communal spaces, such as game rooms and recreation halls, to reduce congregating and disinfect in between uses. 
  • Must develop safe pickup/drop off procedures to maintain physical distancing and prevent the mixing of campers. These procedures must be explained to parents prior to the first drop off. o Must develop a plan for safe vendor deliveries, if applicable. 
  • Licensed Recreational Camps must maintain the camper to counselor ratios in 105 CMR 430.101. Day Camps and Programs: 
  • Cohort size limited to ≤25 campers. Staff are not counted as part of cohort size. Social distancing must be maintained within each cohort. 
  • May not congregate staff/campers in a way that does not allow for 6 feet of physical distancing between individuals; limit activities to those that can maintain social distancing

For a more detailed list of guidelines and safety standards visit: 

Travel Advisory

COVID-19 Order No. 66 Section 4: Travel Advisory Replaces Travel Order Rescinds COVID-19 Order No. 45 (14-day quarantine requirement for travelers entering Massachusetts) and replaces it with travel advisory effective March 22nd . All visitors entering Massachusetts, including returning residents, are advised to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. Exemptions from travel advisory • negative COVID-19 test result up to 72 hours prior to arrival. If not obtained before entry to Massachusetts, a test may be obtained after arrival, as long as travelers quarantine until a negative test result has been received. • returning to Massachusetts after an absence of fewer than 24 hours. • workers who enter Massachusetts to perform critical infrastructure functions while they are commuting to or from or while at work. • travelers who are fully vaccinated and who do not have symptoms. 

Adjusting Gathering Limits Set in COVID-19 Order No. 63

 Adjusts gathering limits effective March 22nd as follows: Gatherings at private residences (and other places not event venues or public setting) • indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people • outdoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 25 people Gatherings at event venues and in public settings • indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 100 people • outdoor gatherings maximum of 150 persons in a single venue or space

Four Phase Approach

The Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive plan to safely reopen the Massachusetts economy, get people back to work, and ease social restrictions while minimizing the health impacts of COVID-19. 

Per Governor Baker, Limits on gatherings

  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #66 (issued March 18, 2021): Rescinded COVID-19 Order #45 effective 12:01AM on March 22, 2021. Directed the Department of Public Health to issue in its place an Advisory for Travelers to Massachusetts to inform the public of appropriate safety measures to reduce COVID-19 transmission.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #63 (issued February 4, 2021) Rescinded COVID-19 Order #57, established gathering limits of 10 people indoors; 25 people outdoors.
  • Governor's COVID-19 Order #54 (issued November 2, 2020, effective November 6, 12:01 AM) Reduced gathering size limit for gatherings at private residences: indoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 10 people and outdoor gatherings at private residences are limited to 25 people. The limit on gatherings held in public spaces and at event venues remains the same. Requires that all gatherings (regardless of size or location) must end and disperse by 9:30 PM.
    Also requires that organizers of gatherings report known positive COVID-19 cases to the local health department in that community and requires organizers to cooperate with contact tracing. The gatherings order authorizes continued enforcement by local health and police departments and specifies that fines for violating the gathering order will be $500 for each person above the limit at a particular gathering.

Update September 29, 2020

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition to Step II of Phase III for Lower Risk Communities Effective October 5th

 BOSTON – The Baker-Polito Administration today announced that effective Monday, October 5th, lower risk communities will be permitted to move into Step II of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. All other communities will remain in Phase III, Step I. Governor Charlie Baker also issued a revised gatherings order. Industry specific guidance and protocols for a range of Phase I, II, and III businesses will also be updated. 

 Phase III, Step II:

 On May 18, the Baker-Polito Administration released a four-phased plan to reopen the economy based on sustained improvements in public health data. 

 Last month, the Administration began releasing data on the average daily COVID cases per 100,000 residents, average percent positivity, and total case counts, for all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns.  

Lower risk communities are defined as cities and towns that have not been a “red” community in any of the last three weekly Department of Public Health (DPH) weekly reports. 

Effective October 5, a limited number of sectors will be eligible to reopen, with restrictions, in Step II of Phase III for lower risk communities only:  

  • Indoor performance venues will be permitted to open with 50% capacity with a maximum of 250 people.  
  • Outdoor performance venue capacity will increase to 50% with a maximum of 250 people. 
  • For arcades and indoor and outdoor recreation businesses, additional Step II activities like trampolines, obstacle courses, roller rinks and laser tag will also be permitted to open and capacity will increase to 50%.  
  • Fitting rooms will be permitted to open in all types of retail stores.   
  • Gyms, museums, libraries and driving and flight schools will also be permitted to increase their capacity to 50%.  

Revised Gatherings Order: 

  • The limit for indoor gatherings remains at a maximum of 25 people for all communities. 
  • Outdoor gatherings at private residences and in private backyards will remain at a maximum of 50 people for all communities. 
  • Outdoor gatherings at event venues and in public settings will have a limit of 50 people in Step I communities, and a limit of 100 people in lower risk, Step II communities.


Reopening Phase III mandatory safety standards, recommended best practices and a checklist for restaurants. Updated: September 22 | Effective: September 28 , 2020

Massachusetts Launches “My Local MA” Campaign to Drive Economic Activity and Safely Support Small and Local Businesses

On Tuesday, August 25, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced the launch of an effort to encourage residents of the Commonwealth to support their local economies by shopping at local Massachusetts businesses and attractions, safely – in person, online, and using curbside pickup or takeout.

The Baker-Polito Administration’s “My Local MA” advertising campaign is kicking off this Friday in tandem with the Sales Tax-Free Weekend taking place August 29-30, and was developed as a response to the economic impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on Massachusetts local businesses and communities. 

Safety Standards for Indoor and Outdoor Gathering as of August 11, 2020

Governor Baker is signing an updated gatherings order, effective Tuesday, August 11,  which will:

Reduce the limit on outdoor gatherings from 100 to 50 people (indoor gatherings limit will remain at 25 people) Apply these limits to all types of gatherings, on both public and private property.

Require face coverings where more than 10 people from different households will be mixing.

Due to the recent increase in positive cases, step two of phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan has been postponed indefinitely.

Restaurant rules have been updated to state that alcoholic beverages may only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by orders for food prepared on-site. The administration will be taking measures to ensure that bars masquerading as restaurants will be closed.

Public safety officials, including state and local law enforcement, have the jurisdiction to enforce these orders and event hosts in violation of these orders will be subject to fines or cease and desist orders.

Baker-Polito Administration Extends Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures to October 17, 2020 

Travel Advisory as of August 1, 2020

The new travel order requires all visitors and returning residents to fill out a “Massachusetts Traveler Form” unless they are coming from a state that has been designated a lower risk COVID-19 state or fall into an exemption category. The new travel order also provides that visitors and returning residents arriving in Massachusetts from any place other than a COVID-19 lower-risk state must quarantine for 14-days unless they can produce a negative COVID-19 test result administered on a sample taken not more than 72-hours prior to arriving in Massachusetts. 

Phase Three Step One Opening 

The following businesses will be eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase III, subject to industry-specific rules concerning capacity and operations: 

  • Movie theaters and outdoor performance venues;
  • Museums, cultural and historical sites; 
  • Fitness centers and health clubs;
  • Certain indoor recreational activities with low potential for contact;
  • Professional sports teams, under the authority of league-wide rules, may hold games without spectators

Please use the following links for more information: 

Museums and Cultural and Historical Facilities and Guided Tours 

Theaters and Performance Venues 

Indoor and Outdoor Events 

Fitness Centers and Health Clubs 

Phase Two Step Two Opening

Consistent with Public Health Data and Trends, Step Two of Phase II of Reopening Massachusetts Set to Begin on June 22, 2020. 

Phase Two Step One Opening

The following businesses will be eligible to reopen in Step One of Phase II on June 8, 2020, with contingencies:

  • Retail, with occupancy limits; 
  • Childcare facilities and day camps, with detailed guidance;
  • Restaurants, outdoor table service only;
  • Hotels and other lodgings, no events, functions or meetings;
  • Warehouses and distribution centers;
  • Personal services without close physical contact, such as home cleaning, photography, window washing, career coaching and education tutoring;
  • Post-secondary, higher education, vocational-tech and occupation schools for the purpose of completing graduation requirements; 
  • Youth and adult amateur sports, with detailed guidance;
  • Outdoor recreation facilities
  • Professional sports practices, no games or public admissions;
  • Non-athletic youth instructional classes in arts, education or life skills and in groups of less than 10;
  • Driving and flight schools 
  • Outdoor historical spaces, no functions, gatherings or guided tours; 
  • Funeral homes, with occupancy limits

Health care providers may also incrementally resume in-person elective, non-urgent procedures and services, including routine office visits, dental visits and vision care subject to compliance with public health and safety standards. All other in-person medical, behavioral health, dental and vision services may also resume on June 8th, except for elective cosmetic procedures and in-person day programs, which will be included in Phase III. Telehealth must continue to be utilized and prioritized to the greatest extent possible, whenever feasible and appropriate.

Limited reopening of visitation will also begin, and all visitation is subject to infection control protocol, social distancing and face coverings. Given the diversity of facilities and programs, there are specific timetables for visitation, and congregate care programs will be reaching out to families with specific details on scheduling visits.

Phase One Opening 

What Businesses can expect related to re-opening starting May 18, 2020 

Reopening Plan

All businesses in the state of MA must develop a written control plan outlining how its workplace will comply with the mandatory safety standards for operation in the COVID-19 reopening period. This template may be filled out to meet that requirement. Control plans do not need to be submitted for approval but must be kept on premise and made available in the case of an inspection or outbreak. All individually listed businesses must complete a control plan, even if the business is part of a larger corporation or entity.

Guidance from the Commonwealth to Reopen

The following detailed commentary is related to the Executive Order signed by Governor Baker on May 18, 2020. This document is intended to provide additional information on businesses and activities summarized in the Reopening Massachusetts report. This is not an exhaustive list of all possible businesses that can open in each phase; it may be updated from time to time.

Mandatory Safety Standards

Businesses and other organizations shall limit occupancy within their office space to no more than 25 percent of (a) the maximum occupancy level specified in any certificate of occupancy or similar permit or as provided for under the state building code; or (b) the business or organization’s typical occupancy as of March 1, 2020. •

Any business or other organization that has been operating as a “COVID-19 Essential Service” as of May 18, 2020 shall have until July 1, 2020 to comply with these occupancy limitations.

Businesses and other organizations may exceed this maximum occupancy level based on a demonstrated need for relief based on public health or public safety considerations or where strict compliance may interfere with the continued delivery of critical services

Office Space Safety


Office Check List to Maintain Safety

The items to check regularly will be Social Distancing, Hygiene Protocols, Staffing and Operations and Cleaning and Disinfecting. 

Compliance with Reopening

In order to reopen your business, please complete and sign the following checklist once you have completed your COVID-19 Control Plan template.