Reopening Massachusetts: Information for Employers

By Mark Macchi, Ari Kristan, Peter Moser, Richard Loftus   May 19, 2020

On Monday, May 18, 2020, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced Reopening Massachusetts, which includes a four-phase plan involving general and industry-specific requirements and standards for reopening businesses throughout the Commonwealth.

Phase One of the plan, dubbed “Start,” involves the immediate reopening of “limited industries” with “severe restrictions.”  Manufacturing facilities and construction sites, as well as houses of worship, may open as of May 18, 2020.  On May 25, additional sectors can begin reopening, including lab spaces, offices spaces, hair salons, and car washes.  The detailed list of when specific industries can reopen can be found here.

Phase Two, dubbed “Cautious” will allow for additional industries to resume operations with “restrictions and capacity limitations.”  Phase Three, “Vigilant” will allow for additional industries to resume with “guidance.”  Finally, Phase Four, the “New Normal” will begin only with the development of a vaccine and/or treatment.  Each phase will last a minimum of three weeks.  The Governor warned that if public health trends are negative, specific industries or geographical areas, or the entire Commonwealth, may need to return to an earlier phase.
The Governor’s plan includes mandatory safety standards that all industries must follow, which can be found here.  Additionally, there are sector-specific standards that businesses should review and apply in preparation for reopening.

Before resuming operations, employers will be required to create a written COVID-19 control plan outlining how they will prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.  Additionally, employers will be required to sign a poster attesting that they have a completed COVID-19 control plan, and post the attestation along with other posters describing the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, cleaning, and disinfecting.  Employers will also be required to provide training to employees on safety information and precautions.  The Reopening Massachusetts website includes templates that can be used for the Control Plan, the Attestation Poster, and employer and employee workplace guidance posters.

Employers preparing to reopen should consult the standards and guidance linked above and located on the state’s dedicated reopening website.  If you have any questions or need assistance with your reopening plan, please contact any member of the HRW COVID-19 Team:

Click here to download this alert as a PDF.

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