Gov. Charlie Baker announces that he has issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public at a State House press conference on March 23, 2020. [Joshua Qualls/Governor’s Press Office]

Gov. Charlie Baker issued an emergency order today requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24, at noon, until Tuesday, April 7, at noon.

These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely.

The Baker-Polito administration issued a list of designated businesses and other organizations that provide essential services and workforces related to COVID-19 that shall continue to operate brick-and-mortar facilities during the two-week time period. The administration said the list is based on federal guidance and amended “to reflect the needs of Massachusetts’ unique economy.” While these businesses are designated as essential, they are urged to follow social distancing protocols for workers in accordance with guidance from the Department of Public Health.

Download full list of “COVID-19 Essential Services”

Link to the Emergency Order

Link to Guidance of Assemblages

Businesses and organizations not on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operations through remote means that do not require workers, customers, or the public to enter or appear at the brick-and-mortar premises closed by the order.

Restaurants, bars and other establishments that sell food and beverage products to the public are encouraged to continue to offer food for take-out and by delivery if they follow the social distancing protocols set forth in Department of Public Health guidance. On-premises consumption of food or drink is prohibited.

Due to the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Gov. Baker directed the Department of Public Health to issue a stay-at-home advisory outlining self-isolation and social distancing protocols. Residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary activities during this two-week time period. Residents over age 70 or with underlying health conditions, who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19, are advised to limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.

The governor said he does not believe Massachusetts residents can be confined to their homes.

The Baker-Polito administration order also limits gatherings to 10 people during the state of emergency, a reduction from the 25-person limit established in an earlier order. This includes community, civic, public, leisure and faith-based events, and any similar event or activity that brings together more than 10 persons in any confined indoor or outdoor space. The order does not prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people in an outdoor space, such as a park or athletic field.

Categories of COVID-19 Essential Services
• Health Care and Public Health
• Law Enforcement, Public Safety and First Responders
• Food and Agriculture
• Critical Manufacturing
• Transportation
• Energy
• Water and Wastewater
• Public Works
• Communications and Information Technology
• Financial Services
• Defense Industry Base
• Chemical Manufacturing and Hazardous Materials
• Other Designated Community-Based Essential Function and Government Operations
• News Media