For the latest information on the COVID-19 response in Massachusetts, please refer to the following links:
- Information on the Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) – Updates from the MA Department of Public Health on case counts, testing, guidance, and resources regarding our public health response to COVID-19 in the Commonwealth.
- COVID-19 Updates and Information – Everything you need to know about COVID-19 in Massachusetts.
- COVID-19 State of Emergency – Updates, emergency orders, and guidance associated with the COVID-19 State of Emergency.
- COVID-19 Response Reporting – Daily and cumulative data on Massachusetts COVID-19 cases and testing, and weekly data on confirmed cases by city/town and residents subject to COVID-19 quarantine.
- COVID-19 Hospital Capacity and Surge Response – Learn about the COVID-19 Response Command Center’s work to monitor hospital capacity and respond to surge needs.
- Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) During COVID-19– Guidance for prioritizing and optimizing use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) in Massachusetts during the COVID-19 response.
DECEMBER 9, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Initial Steps for COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution
The Baker-Polito Administration announced allocation and distribution plans for the first round of COVID-19 vaccine shipments to Massachusetts set to begin around December 15. Vaccine is being prioritized for these groups to maximize life preservation and to support the health care system. Learn more.
DECEMBER 8, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Statewide Rollback to Phase Three, Step One, Additional Restrictions Effective December 13th
The Baker-Polito Administration announced that effective Sunday, December 13th, all communities in Massachusetts will return to Step 1 of Phase 3, of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. This will reduce indoor capacities across a broad range of sectors of the economy and tighten several other workplace restrictions. The Administration announced the roll-back to respond to an increase in new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations since the Thanksgiving holiday that is straining the health care system in Massachusetts. Learn more.
DECEMBER 7, 2020 Baker-Polito Administration Launches New Testing Infrastructure to Increase Testing Capacity & Efficiency Statewide
The Baker-Polito Administration announced the Commonwealth will increase testing capacity and locations to provide more access for residents in every county. This plan includes five new locations, and the state plans to collect 110,000 COVID-19 tests per week—representing a 50% testing increase for state-financed and organized testing sites alone. Learn more.
DECEMBER 4, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Submits Initial Vaccine Order To The Us Centers For Disease Control And Prevention
The Baker-Polito Administration submitted the Commonwealth’s initial vaccine order to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The federal government allocated Massachusetts 59,475 doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for this first shipment that is part of 300,000 doses that the CDC is expected to send to Massachusetts by the end of December. The first allotment of 300,000 COVID vaccines will be for the first dose of a two dose regimen. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 24, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $4.7 Million to Support Food Security in Massachusetts
The Baker-Polito Administration announced over $4.7 million in grants to address urgent food insecurity for residents across the Commonwealth as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is being awarded as part of the fifth round of the new $36 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, created following recommendations from the Administration’s COVID-19 Command Center’s Food Security Task Force, which promotes ongoing efforts to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to healthy, local food. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 23, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Launches Latest Statewide Campaign Calling for Continued Vigilance, Safety on COVID-19 to “Get Back Mass”
The Baker-Polito Administration launched a new public awareness effort to encourage residents to continue to stay safe and remain vigilant. The statewide campaign “Get Back Mass” highlights the critical steps everyone should take – wearing a mask and practicing good hygiene, keeping a safe distance, and getting tested – to protect themselves and their loved ones. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 18, 2020 – Regional Coalition of Northeastern Governors Announce Colleges will be Encouraged to Provide Testing for Students Before Leaving for Thanksgiving Break, Recommend Expanded Remote Instruction to End Fall Semester Safely
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Delaware Governor John Carney, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf, and Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo encouraged efforts that will help mitigate the threat of college students returning home for the holidays importing COVID-19 into their communities. In addition, colleges should inform students and their families of relevant quarantine policies in their home state. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 18, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Higher Education Holiday Travel Guidance; First Round of Abbott BinaxNOW Covid-19 Point of Care Testing In K-12 Schools
The Baker-Polito Administration released updated travel guidance to colleges and universities in advance of the approaching holiday season. These updated guidelines are focused on a robust testing initiative to reduce the risk of college students bringing COVID-19 home to their families and communities before Thanksgiving. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 13, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Re-establishment of a Field Hospital at the DCU Center in Worcester
The Baker-Polito Administration announced that the first field hospital will be stood up at the DCU Center in Worcester as the Commonwealth prepares additional capacity for COVID-19 patients. This site will be built by the National Guard and is the first field hospital to re-open in the state since June. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 12, 2020 – Joint Statement from the Offices of Governors Baker, Murphy, Mills, Raimondo, Sununu, Scott and Lamont on the Suspension of Interstate Youth Hockey
In response to recent coronavirus outbreaks associated with the conduct of interstate youth hockey activities, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, Maine Governor Janet Mills, Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo, New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu, Vermont Governor Phil Scott, and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont will support a regional approach to interstate competitions. As case numbers increase in many states across the country, it is critical that neighboring states coordinate a regional approach to limit further community spread of the virus. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 6, 2020 – Updates to Guidance on Interpreting DPH COVID-19 Health Metrics
With the change to the state’s color-coded metrics, a community’s designation of gray, green, yellow or red now takes into account the size of the community, positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents and the percent of tests conducted in a community that are positive. DESE is making updates to its initial guidance on interpreting these metrics in school settings based on a growing body of evidence that students should remain in school. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 6, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration, COVID-19 Command Center & Department of Elementary & Secondary Education Release Updated Metrics, Guidance on Schools
The Baker-Polito Administration and COVID-19 Command Center released updated metrics for schools and municipalities. The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education also released updated school guidance. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 6, 2020 – Department of Unemployment Assistance Disburses Lost Wages Assistance Benefits to Newly Eligible Unemployment Claimant
The Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has begun disbursement of the Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) $300 supplemental benefit to newly eligible unemployment claimants in the Commonwealth who were previously determined ineligible for those payments because their benefit amount was too low to qualify. Eligible claimants will receive this supplemental benefit by Tuesday, November 10, 2020. Learn more.
NOVEMBER 2, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Targeted Measures To Curb Rising COVID-19 Cases, Hospitalizations
The Administration announced a series of targeted measures to disrupt the increasing trend of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Governor Charlie Baker announced these changes at a time where public health data has indicated that cases are rising, with cases up by 278% and hospitalizations up by 145% since Labor Day. These measures are meant to disrupt rising trends now, so the Commonwealth can keep the economy and schools open for residents and to prevent the need to roll back to Phase I or Phase II of the reopening plan. All orders and advisories will be effective Friday, November 6th at 12:01 AM. Learn more.
OCTOBER 27, 2020 – State public health officials offer tips for a safe and healthy Thanksgiving
The Massachusetts DPH provided guidance for holiday celebrations to help limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and reduce the spread of the virus. Learn more
OCTOBER 22, 2020 – Massachusetts to temporarily pause all indoor ice rink and ice skating facilities operations for two weeks
The Massachusetts DPH issued a new public health order prohibiting indoor ice rinks and ice-skating facilities from operating from October 23, 2020 to November 7, 2020. Learn more.
OCTOBER 22, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Partnerships for Recovery, $774 Million Economic Recovery Plan
The Administration announced a $774 million comprehensive plan to stabilize and grow the Massachusetts economy. The plan focuses on getting people back to work, supporting small businesses, fostering innovation, revitalizing downtowns and ensuring housing stability. Learn more.
OCTOBER 15, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces $6.5 Million in New Manufacturing Emergency Response Team Grants
The Administration has awarded over $6.5 Million to 13 Massachusetts organizations to develop new products to assist in the response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The new grants from the Massachusetts Manufacturing Emergency Response Team (MERT) will expand the Commonwealth’s work to drive in-state manufacturing of critical products, an effort which has produced more than 11 million pieces of personal protective equipment and other critical pieces as of September. Learn more.
OCTOBER 14, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Submits Revised Fiscal Year 2021 Budget Proposal
The Administration submitted a revised Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) budget recommendation. The $45.5 billion proposal is fiscally disciplined and makes substantial investments in economic development and education, while protecting core government services amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
OCTOBER 13, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces COVID-19 Measures in Place to Ensure Readiness for Fall and Winter
The Administration provided an update today on a series of initiatives that will keep supporting the residents of the Commonwealth to stop the spread of COVID-19, and ensure the state’s readiness status heading into the fall and winter. Led by the COVID-19 Command Center, the Administration outlined today inter-departmental programs that have been built or expanded since the start of the pandemic in March, all of which strengthen the Commonwealth’s ability and capacity to respond if COVID cases in Massachusetts increase. Learn more.
OCTOBER 12, 2020 –Baker-Polito Administration Announces Comprehensive Eviction Diversion Initiative To Keep People Safely Housed During Pandemic
Administration announced a comprehensive set of resources, known as the Eviction Diversion Initiative, to support tenants and landlords during the financial challenges caused by the pandemic. The goal of this initiative is to keep tenants safely in their homes and to support the ongoing expenses of landlords once the Commonwealth’s pause of evictions and foreclosures expires on Saturday, October 17. Learn more.
OCTOBER 7, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group
The Administration announced a COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group to advance its efforts to prepare to distribute a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available. Comprised of medical professionals, public health experts, elected officials, community leaders and infectious disease specialists, the COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Group will advise the Administration, including the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center, on communication, distribution, and equity issues relating to a COVID-19 vaccine. Learn more.
OCTOBER 7, 2020 – State public health officials offer tips for a safe and healthy Halloween
For residents planning to celebrate Halloween, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) provided safety tips to help limit the risk of exposure to COVID-19. DPH is also reminding residents and communities to be aware that Halloween activities are subject to the current state gathering size limits as well as applicable sector-specific workplace safety standards. Learn more.
OCTOBER 6, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Continued Efforts to Support Older Adults; Launches Second Round of Nursing Home Reforms; Strengthens Staff Flu Vaccine Requirements
The Administration has begun implementing its second round of comprehensive nursing home reforms to keep older adults safe, improve the standards of care and infection control, and respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the Accountability and Supports Package 2.0 announced in September, the first phase includes $82 million in restructured Medicaid rates and immediate steps to eliminate 3 and 4 bedrooms in nursing homes. In addition, the state released updated surveillance testing guidance for nursing homes and rest homes and announced new funding for assisted living residences (ALRs) to support surveillance testing. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 29, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition to Step II of Phase III for Lower Risk Communities Effective October 5th
The Administration 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. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 24, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Indoor Visitation Guidance for Nursing Homes, Rest Homes, and Assisted Living Residences
The Administration announced new guidance that allows safe indoor visitation to resume in nursing homes and rest homes, and further expands indoor visitation options in assisted living residences. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Free COVID-19 Testing in 18 Communities is Extended through October
The Administration announced that the state’s “Stop the Spread” initiative has extended free COVID-19 testing through October 31. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 23, 2020 –Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Grant Program to Help Stop the Spread of COVID-19 in Communities of Color
The Administration announced a new grant program to help prevent and reduce the spread of COVID-19 in communities of color. Open to applicants until October 14, the $650,000 grant program is available to faith-based organizations and community groups serving Black, Latinx and other people of color in cities and towns hardest hit by COVID-19.Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 17, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Urges Massachusetts Residents to Get Flu Vaccination
The Administration urged residents to get vaccinated now against influenza to protect themselves, their families, and prevent the spread of flu to keep residents healthy and ease the strain on health care systems caring for people with COVID-19. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 16, 2020 – College and university testing data added to COVID-19 weekly public health report
The Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center today announced that higher education data from COVID-19 testing will be reported on a weekly basis on the state’s COVID-19 dashboard. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 15, 2020 – Massachusetts Announces Extension of Administrative Tax Relief for Local Businesses
Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced an extension of administrative tax relief measures for local businesses that have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 10, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Nursing Facility Accountability and Supports
TheAdministration announced a new Nursing Facility Accountability and Supports package, a set of policy reforms and funding for nursing facilities that builds on the accountability and support measures taken in April to hold facilities to higher standards of care and infection control. Learn more.
SEPTEMBER 3, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Launches Additional Intervention Initiatives for Communities With Highest Risk for COVID-19
The Administration stepped up its targeted initiative to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in communities across the Commonwealth with the highest number of positive cases. Learn more.
AUGUST 25, 2020 – Massachusetts Launches “My Local MA” Campaign to Drive Economic Activity and Safely Support Small and Local Businesses
The Administration 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. Learn more.
AUGUST 20, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Testing Initiatives to Help Schools
The Administration announced two rapid response testing initiatives for schools to address potential clusters of COVID-19 cases among students, teachers or staff at a school building. Learn more.
AUGUST 18, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Awards Over $3 Million to Improve Food Security in Massachusetts
The Administration announced $3.3 million in grants to address urgent food insecurity for Massachusetts residents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and make the Commonwealth’s food system more resilient. Learn more.
AUGUST 11, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Releases Enhanced Community Level Data on Spread of COVID-19
The Administration released additional data on community level spread of COVID-19 in order to target additional resources and implement community specific strategies to stop the spread of the virus. Learn more.
AUGUST 7, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces New Initiatives to Stop Spread of COVID-19
The Administration announced a new set of initiatives aimed at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, especially in higher risk communities that have seen a recent uptick in cases. While Massachusetts has seen a decrease in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations since May, there has been a slight uptick in certain communities in recent days. Learn more.
AUGUST 3, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Free COVID-19 Testing Site in Framingham
The Administration announced an expansion of its “Stop the Spread” initiative, which provides free COVID-19 testing in targeted communities across the Commonwealth, with a new testing site in Framingham. Learn more.
AUGUST 3, 2020 – MassHealth Issues Initial Termination Notices to Three Nursing Homes
MassHealth issued initial termination notices to three private nursing facilities that have failed to meet the standards and requirements of the MassHealth program during the COVID-19 crisis and have a historic record of poor performance. Two of these nursing facilities were identified in the Nursing Facility Task Force’s report issued in January 2020 prior to the pandemic as chronically low quality and low volume. Learn more.
JULY 31, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Launches #MaskUpMA, Reminding Residents To Wear Face-Coverings To Stop COVID-19 Spread
The Administration launched #MaskUpMA, an effort to continue to remind residents to wear masks and face-coverings in public to stop the spread of COVID-19. The effort will underscore the importance of wearing masks across multiple channels including video testimonials on social media, a new PSA, and a website, Mass.Gov/MaskUp. Learn more.
JULY 27, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Expansion of Targeted Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The Administration announced an expansion of its “Stop the Spread” initiative, which provides free COVID-19 testing in targeted communities across the Commonwealth. Learn more.
JULY 24, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Issues New Travel Order Effective August 1st
The Administration announced that effective August 1, all travelers entering the Commonwealth, including both out-of-state residents and Massachusetts residents returning home, will be required to comply with a new travel order. The travel order and other information is available at mass.gov/MAtraveler. Learn more.
JULY 22, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces COVID-19 Testing Billing Protections for Uninsured Individuals
The Administration issued a public health order to prevent uninsured individuals from receiving surprise bills and copays because of a COVID-19 test. Learn more.
JULY 21, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Extends Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures to October 17
The Administration extended the moratorium on evictions and foreclosures for 60 days, until October 17, 2020, through the authority granted to the governor by Chapter 65 of the Acts of 2020, An Act providing for a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures during the COVID-19 Emergency, which was signed into law on April 20, 2020. Learn more.
JULY 16, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces $20 Million to Support Vital Social Services, Small Businesses
The Administration announced $19.6 million for municipalities to address emergency needs in light of the coronavirus pandemic. This funding will support 174 communities in their work to provide vital services to low-income residents and small businesses affected by the recent outbreak. Learn more.
JULY 13, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces COVID-19 Funding for Special Education Programs
The Administration announced $16.1 million in relief for 32 special education residential school providers to support costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
JULY 8, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Launches Targeted Free COVID-19 Testing Sites
The Administration announced the launch of free COVID-19 testing sites in eight communities from July 10 to August 14 to help stop the spread of COVID-19. This “Stop the Spread” initiative is a data-driven effort to reduce the prevalence of COVID-19 in communities that are above the state average in total cases and positive test rate, and have experienced a decline in testing levels since April. Learn more.
JULY 2, 2020 – Reopening Massachusetts: Baker-Polito Administration Initiates Transition to Third Phase of Four-Phase Approach
The Administration announced that on July 6, Phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin and updates on gatherings will be in effect. For the City of Boston, Phase III and the gatherings order will take effect on Monday, July 13. The Department of Public Health (DPH) also issued updated guidance to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Learn more.
JULY 1, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration, MBTA and Community Partners Highlight Food Security Partnership with The RIDE
The Governor and Lt. Governor joined MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak and officials from the City of Boston, Greater Boston YMCA and Greater Boston Food Bank to highlight an innovative partnership to help provide Boston’s most vulnerable residents with access to food by utilizing RIDE paratransit service. Learn more.
JUNE 30, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Updated Travel Guidelines to Support COVID-19 Response
The Administration announced new COVID-19 public health guidelines on travel and transportation. Effective Wednesday, July 1, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts, including residents returning home, are instructed to self-quarantine for 14-days. This guidance does not apply to travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York or New Jersey. Additionally, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are also exempt from this directive. Learn more.
JUNE 26, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Unveils $275M COVID-19 Economic Relief Package to Promote Equity and Economic Growth
The Administrationunveiled a COVID-19 economic recovery package to generate economic growth amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The $275 million package, designed to promote equity across the Commonwealth, is an update to the Administration’s Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth, the economic development legislation originally filed on March 4, 2020. Learn more.
JUNE 25, 2020 – Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Releases Initial Back-to-School Guidance
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released initial guidance for school reopening this fall that prioritizes getting students safely back to school in person, following a comprehensive set of health and safety requirements. The Department is also requiring schools to create hybrid learning plans to teach students in-person and remotely on alternating schedules, and to have robust remote learning plans in place, should those alternate learning models be needed. Learn more.
JUNE 23, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Crisis Counseling Assistance Program
As part of its efforts to support the behavioral health needs of Massachusetts residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Administration announced the availability of a new crisis counseling assistance program. The new program, MassSupport, is funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) made available through the federal disaster declaration. Riverside Community Care is providing the crisis counseling under contract with the Department of Mental Health. Call 888-215-4920 for Assistance.Learn more
JUNE 19, 2020 – Reopening Massachusetts: Baker-Polito Administration Initiates Transition to Step Two of Second Phase of Four-Phase Approach
The Administration announced that Step Two of Phase II of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan, Reopening Massachusetts, will begin on Monday, June 22 to allow additional industries to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines. Businesses and sectors set to begin operating in Step Two of PhaseII are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards. Learn more.
JUNE 19, 2020 – Department of Public Health releases recommendations of COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group to address pandemic’s impact on communities of color
To address the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and marginalized populations, the Department of Public Health’s COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group today released new data and specific recommendations to inform the state’s ongoing COVID-19 pandemic response. Learn more.
JUNE 15, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Pop-Up Testing Sites for Participants of Large Gatherings
The Administration announced the availability of pop-up COVID-19 testing sites throughout the Commonwealth for individuals who have recently participated in large gatherings. These free testing sites will be available at over 50 sites throughout the Commonwealthon Wednesday, June 17and Thursday, June 18. The Administration is urging anyone who has attended a large gathering in the past two weeks to get tested for COVID-19 at one of these sites. Test results will be provided to each participant confidentially, and participants are encouraged to share these results with their doctors. A full list of all testing sites is available at mass.gov/gettested. Learn more
JUNE 11, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Announces Availability of $41 Million in Support for Food Security Programs
The Administration announced $41 million to address urgent food insecurity for Massachusetts residents as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition, the Administration also opened applications for the new $36 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program to ensure that individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth have access to fresh, local food. The Request for Responses for project proposals is available here. Learn more.
JUNE 9, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Visits Lawrence to Tour New Balance’s PPE Production Line
Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito joined New Balance chairman Jim Davis for a tour of New Balance’s Lawrence factory, a facility that has helped the company produce more than 1 million masks in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency. The tour highlighted the company’s face mask models, including a new version being rolled out to consumers in the coming weeks, and a new surgical mask model for frontline health care workers. Learn more.
JUNE 9, 2020 – Governor Baker Files COVID-19 Data Collection Bill
The Administration filed “An Act to Ensure the Collection of COVID-19 Data,” which will build on legislation recently passed by the Legislature and signed by the governor to expand data collection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
JUNE 6, 2020 – Reopening Massachusetts: Baker-Polito Administration Initiates Transition to Second Phase of Four-Phase Reopening
The Administration announced that Phase II of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan will begin on June 8. Businesses and sectors set to begin opening in Phase II are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards. Learn more.
JUNE 1, 2020 – Governor Baker Issues Executive Order in Advance of Phase II
The Administration issued an Executive Order that provides a detailed list of businesses and activities that fall into Phases II, III, and IV of the Commonwealth’s Re-Opening Plan. The Order also permits all Phase II enterprises to begin preparations to safely resume operation in advance of the start of the second phase. In addition to the retail sector, the Executive Order details further requirements for the safe return of amateur youth and adult sports and outdoor dining. Learn more
JUNE 1, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Releases Detailed Guidelines for the Phased Reopening of Child Care, Camps and Summer Recreational Programs
The Administration released health and safety requirements that apply to the reopening of all childcare programs, recreational camps and municipal or recreational programs not traditionally licensed as camps as part of the phased reopening of the Commonwealth. Learn more
MAY 27, 2020 – COVID-19 Command Center Releases New Nursing Home and Community-level COVID-19 Public Health Data
The Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center today announced additional data that will be reported on a daily and weekly basis related to COVID-19. This data includes: self-reported nursing home deaths by facility; city and Town COVID-19 tests and test rate and percent positivity; and COVID-19 testing results of state-operated health and human services facilities and congregate care programs across the Commonwealth. Learn more.
MAY 21, 2020 – Massachusetts Implements Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
The Administration announced that Massachusetts residents who are eligible for the federal CARES Act and qualify for having exhausted their regular unemployment compensation may now receive up to 13 additional weeks of benefits under the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program. The launch of this program marks the third and final benefit available for the Commonwealth through the CARES Act. Learn more.
MAY 18, 2020 – As part of the Administration’s 4-phased reopening process, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) released new guidance for the reopening of outdoor recreational activities and businesses in the Commonwealth. Learn more.
MAY 18, 2020 – The Administration released Reopening Massachusetts, the Reopening Advisory Board’s report, which details a four-phased strategy to responsibly reopen businesses and activities while continuing to fight COVID-19. The Administration also released a new “Safer At Home” Advisory, which instructs residents to stay at home unless engaging with newly opened activities, as a way to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19. Starting today, based on current public health data and trends, Massachusetts will begin Phase 1 of a cautious reopening, and workplaces that are permitted to open are required to follow new safety protocols and guidance. Learn more about the reopening process at mass.gov/reopening.
Workplace-specific information can be found here:
Reopening: When can my business reopen?
View guidance for specific industries here
Learn about the Reopening Mandatory Safety Standards for All Workplaces
MAY 17, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration Invests $56 Million to Combat Food Insecurity in Massachusetts
The Administration announced $56 million to help combat urgent food insecurity for certain Massachusetts families and individuals as a result of COVID-19. This funding is consistent with findings of the Food Security Task Force, which was convened by the Massachusetts COVID-19 Command Center in response to increased demands for food assistance. Learn more.
MAY 15, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration & Employer Community Announce Continuation of Work From Home Policies to Support Safe Reopening of Massachusetts Economy
The Administration released a partial list of employers who are committing to continuing work from home policies for the foreseeable future as a way to provide more flexibility for their employees and greater capacity for social distancing on the state’s public transportation system. Learn more.
MAY 14, 2020 – Baker-Polito Administration to Distribute $502 Million from the Federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to Local Cities and Towns
The Administration announced that it is preparing to distribute up to $502 million from the federal Coronavirus Relief Fund to local cities and towns for eligible costs related to the COVID-19 response effort. The Administration is also providing guidance to local municipalities on this formal distribution process and establishing protocols to maximize the use of federal resources and promote compliance with federal restrictions. Learn more.
MAY 13, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued updated guidance about the appropriate use of laboratory testing for COVID-19 and expanded testing recommendations in clinical and commercial laboratories. The new guidance expands the criteria for COVID-19 testing eligibility. Learn more.
MAY 12, 2020 – The Administration filed a supplemental budget bill for Fiscal Year 2020 (FY20) which will authorize $1 billion in spending necessary to cover incurred and expected costs during the COVID-19 public health crisis. It is expected that this spending will result in no net cost to the Commonwealth, after anticipated federal reimbursement and other federal funding sources. The full announcement can be found here.
MAY 11, 2020 – The Administration announced a four-phase approach to reopening the Massachusetts economy amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, and published Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards that will apply across all sectors and industries once reopening begins. The goal of the phased reopening, based on public health guidance, is to methodically allow certain businesses, services, and activities to resume, while protecting public health and limiting a resurgence of new COVID-19 cases. The full announcement can be found here.
More information can be found here:
Reopening: Four-Phase Approach
Reopening: Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces
Reopening Advisory Board Presentation May 11, 2020
MAY 8, 2020 – In partnership with the Mass League of Community Health Centers, the Administration announced an upcoming new COVID-19 public awareness campaign, “New Tools, New Rules – Same Great Care.” Community Health Centers throughout the Commonwealth are open and accepting patients, and this campaign encourages residents to continue to seek care for their medical conditions and reminds individuals not to delay treatment as a result of the COVID-19 public health emergency. The full announcement can be found here.
MAY 7, 2020 – The Administration joined Partners in Health and local public health officials to provide an update on contract tracing efforts through the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) launched last month. The initiative focuses on tracing the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients, and supporting individuals in quarantine, building on COVID-19 Response Command Center efforts to leverage public health college students to augment the contact tracing being done by local boards of health.
The full announcement can be found here.
Learn about the Community Tracing Collaborative
Watch the “MA COVID Team Is Calling” Video
MAY 6, 2020 – The MBTA updated its guidance for riders. Additional updates and guidance is published often. Full updates and guidance from the MBTA can be found here. Information on MBTA sanitation measures can be found here.
MAY 5, 2020 – Massport updated its traveler advisory. Click here to access the advisory portal.
MAY 1, 2020 – Mask and Face Covering Required in Public Places Order
The Administration has ordered all residents over the age of two to use a face covering or mask in public places where maintaining proper social distancing measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 are not possible. This statewide order goes into effect on May 6 and supersedes previously issued guidance relative to mask use. This order applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations that are currently open to the public and permitted to operate as COVID-19 Essential Businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail stores. Residents are also required to wear a mask or face covering at all times when using any means of transportation service or public mass transit. Instructions on how to make a cloth mask are available from the CDC here. Learn more at mass.gov/coveryourface.
MAY 1, 2020 – Community Health Care Center COVID-19 Testing Expansion
In continued partnership with Quest Diagnostics and the Mass League of Community Health Centers, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced further expansion of COVID-19 testing at additional centers throughout the Commonwealth.This testing expansion builds upon the previously announced increased testing, bringing the total to 18 Community Health Centers. The new facilities that will begin or expand testing include:Lynn Community Health Center; Holyoke Health Center; North Shore Community Health Center; South Boston Community Health Center; and Community Health Center of Franklin County.
MAY 1, 2020 – RMV Road Test Cancellations
With the Governor’s stay-at-home order extended to May 18, 2020, all passenger and motorcycle road tests (Class D and Class M) have been cancelled through Monday, May 18, 2020. They previously had been cancelled through May 4th. Note: Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) road tests are still being conducted. Please click here for up to date information on extensions, cancellations, and service changes.
MAY 1, 2020 – Reopening Advisory Board Update
The Reopening Advisory Board, co-chaired by Lt. Governor Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Kennealy, has begun meeting with various employers, business organizations, and municipalities to gather as much data as they can, and to work with DPH and the healthcare community to develop specific guidance for reopening. The Board has set up feedback and listening sessions across the state, and as of Wednesday has talked to retailers and members of the biotech, healthcare, and technology industries.
APRIL 30, 2020 – New COVID-19 Public Health Raw Data Released
Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Sudders announced that the Department of Public Health would for the first time make available the underlying data files the Department uses each day to produce the daily report. The data files will be updated and posted daily with the dashboard report for the public, researchers and media to download. Find the data files on this webpage labeled as raw data.
APRIL 29, 2020 – Board of Elementary and Secondary Education creates alternative path to graduation for high school seniors who have not met MCAS requirements
For some high school seniors, passing an MCAS exam is the final criterion for receiving a diploma, but with MCAS testing cancelled this spring, the state education board unanimously approved an alternative qualification. 12th graders can now show that they successfully completed a course with the same subject matter that would have been on the MCAS. State education officials are expected to provide additional information and guidance on this process in the coming days.
APRIL 29, 2020 – Homeless COVID-19 Isolation Sites
The Commonwealth’s COVID-19 Command Center and MEMA have stood up regional isolation and recovery sites located in hotels across the state. Currently there are sites in Lexington, Pittsfield, Taunton, Northampton, and Everett. These locations are for individuals who: are homeless (people who normally sleep at a shelter, on the street, for whom home is unsafe due to violence, or who do not have a permanent address); are COVID-19 positive; or have a medical provider’s note recommending isolation and can safely isolate without medical supervision.
APRIL 27, 2020 – DHCD Guidance on evictions and foreclosures moratorium
The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has issued guidance for landlords and tenants in accordance with the new law on evictions and foreclosures. All of the guidance can be found here.
APRIL 27, 2020 – Increased Support for Residential Congregate Care Service Providers
The Administration is providing a second phase of increased funding – $44 million – to residential congregate care service providers during the COVID-19 outbreak. This funding builds on the $95 million in increased funding announced on March 30, bringing the total funding for these providers to $139 million, and will support increased staffing costs, infection control and PPE. The full release on congregate care support can be found here.
APRIL 27, 2020 – Second round of funding and required testing for nursing facilities
The Administration is releasing a second round of up to $130 million in funding for two months for nursing homes that meet specific requirements and accountability measures. The funding is dependent on required COVID-19 testing of all staff and residents, regular infection control audits, appropriate allocation of funding and the public release of facility performance and funding use.The full release about nursing home accountability and support is here.
APRIL 22, 2020 – Trial Court establishes public Help Line during COVID-19
Assistance includes general information about cases and navigation of the court system, while it is closed to the public for all but emergency matters. The Help Line is staffed from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, and can be reached at 833-91COURT.
APRIL 22, 2020 – Courts expand remote capability to serve public during COVID-19 health crisis
During the current state of emergency and circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, the Trial Court has adapted its policies and practices to protect court staff and the public, while maintaining access to justice for emergency situations. Most notably,
- Prepared and posted Frequently Asked Questions in multiple languages;
- Established a dedicated Court System Response Page on COVID-19 on the court’s mass.gov site with news and information on actions taken by the Judiciary in response to the pandemic here
- Developed a robust Resource Guide for those struggling with substance use disorders or mental health issues;
- Developed and posted information and resources here to ensure easy access for remote processing of Abuse Protection Orders (209A) & Harassment Prevention Orders (258E) via telephone or video hearings. The Resource Guide includes a region-specific list of advocacy services and court contact information for law enforcement.
APRIL 22, 2020 – Increased Community Health Care Center COVID-19 Testing
In partnership with Quest Diagnostics and the Mass League of Community Health Centers, the Baker-Polito Administration announced further efforts to increase COVID-19 testing through community health centers.This announcement provides increased testing capacity for community health facilities located in Boston, Brockton, Lowell, Quincy, Fall River, Provincetown, and Worcester.
APRIL 22, 2020 – MassHealth Coverage and Reimbursement Policy for Transportation ServicesRelated to COVID-19
MassHealth issued a bulletin introducing additional flexibility for coverage and billing related to COVID-19 related transportation. Those who are under investigation or known to have COVID-19 meet the criteria for use of wheelchair vans and non-emergency ambulances, so long as the transportation is otherwise medically necessary and appropriate. The bulletin can be found here.
APRIL 21, 2020 – New DPH Daily Dashboard Released
The Administration released an enhanced, comprehensive and detailed COVID-19 data report, including trend data in a variety of areas. This report is updated daily and can be found here.
APRIL 21, 2020 – Division of Banks Joins Multi-State Initiative to Provide Relief to Massachusetts Student Loan Borrowers
The Massachusetts Division of Banks (DOB) has joined a multi-state initiative to secure payment relief options for Massachusetts student loan borrowers and issued a Consumer Advisory with important information and resources for private student loan borrowers.
APRIL 21, 2020 – Child care program resources for essential workers
To support families of essential workers and families with children who have special needs, EEC and Care.com have partnered to assist currently unemployed child care workers and provide skilled in-home care. Care.com is offering both eligible families and child care workers free 90-day premium memberships. The free memberships are accessible here.
APRIL 21, 2020 – STEM and Remote Learning Resources
The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) will issue updated guidelines for schools to support remote learning efforts through the duration of the school year, including expanded STEM learning, and will prepare recommendations to strengthen summer learning opportunities for students. EEC’s STEM Resources are available here.
APRIL 21, 2020 – No-Interest Student Loan Program
The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (DHE) is deferring scheduled repayments for its No-Interest Loan Program for a duration of four months to support relief efforts during the COVID-19 public health emergency.
APRIL 21, 2020 – The Administration issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools through the end of the school year, and the closure of all non-emergency child care programs until June 29, 2020 in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. Read more here.
APRIL 20, 2020 – The Administration released revised Crisis Standards of Care Planning Guidance for the COVID-19 Pandemic. Read them here.
APRIL 13, 2020 – The Administration announced a new Manufacturing Emergency Response Team which will support supply production. More Information is available here.
APRIL 10, 2020 – The Administration provided an update on the Commonwealth’s hospital capacity and efforts to add more beds to the system to meet the expected surge in COVID-19 cases. The Administration also announced that the Department of Public Health will issue a Public Health Advisory that people should wear a mask or cover their faces in public when they cannot safely socially distance. To view a summary of the update, click here.
APRIL 9, 2020 – The Administration announced the expansion of the Commonwealth’s statewide, 24/7, toll-free and confidential domestic violence hotline to now include resources and support for survivors of sexual assault. This resource is now available through the 2-1-1 line as an additional method for victims to access help and resources. Advocates are available in English and Spanish and can provide translation in more than 130 languages.
The SafeLink toll-free number is (877) 785-2020.
For the hearing-impaired, the SafeLink TTY number is (877) 521-2601.
APRIL 9, 2020 – The Administration announced details regarding its ongoing implementation of the federal unemployment benefits in the CARES Act, which was enacted on March 27, 2020. The federal unemployment benefits include:
- Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) For Individuals Currently Collecting Benefits From Regular Unemployment Compensation: The FPUC program will provide an additional $600 per week to individuals who are collecting regular unemployment compensation, retroactive to March 29, 2020
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) For Individuals Not Covered Under Traditional Unemployment Insurance (i.e., Self-Employed, Gig Economy Workers, Others): PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to individuals who are not working as a result of COVID-19 and are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and others who otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment insurance.
- Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) For Individuals Who Exhausted Previous UI Benefits: The PEUC program provides up to 13 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits to individuals who have exhausted their previous unemployment benefits.
For more information on the federal programs, please click here.
APRIL 9, 2020 – The Administration announced details for the Field Medical Station at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center (BCEC). Anticipating a surge in COVID-19 cases, the Administration worked collaboratively with the City of Boston and community partners to provide an additional 1,000 beds for COVID-19 patients at this new site. Partners Health Care will lead clinical care efforts at the BCEC field medical station, in a collaboration with Boston Health Care for the Homeless called Boston HOPE. The Convention Center site is the latest Field Medical Station to be stood up by the Command Center and its partners in the health care community.
APRIL 9, 2020 – The Administration issued an order that specifically allows graduates of international medical schools who have successfully completed at least two years of postgraduate resident medical training in the US to be eligible for licensure in the Commonwealth. The full order is here.
APRIL 9, 2020 – The Administration issued an order that allows nursing school graduates and students in their final semesters of nursing programs to practice nursing in advance of receiving a license, provided that they are directly supervised by other licensed medical professionals. The full order can be found here.
APRIL 9, 2020 – The Administration issued an order that mandates that insurers must cover all medically required costs of COVID-19 treatment in out-of-network hospitals or other medical facilities with no charge to the patient, including co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance payments. The full order can be found here.
APRIL 9, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued an order designed to expand COVID-19 demographic reporting data, including race and ethnicity, to address disparities in the virus’ impact and support the Commonwealth’s COVID-19 response efforts. This order mandates all health care providers and labs to collect and report complete demographic information of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 patients. The full order can be found here.
APRIL 8, 2020 – Governor Baker filed legislation to maximize legal protections for health care professionals when the care that they provide is impacted by the COVID-19 emergency. The bill extends protections to a wide range of health care workers who are sometimes being asked to work in unique settings and situations, including field hospitals and other alternative care locations.
Liability Protection Legislation Filing Letter
Liability Protection Legislation
APRIL 7, 2020 – A Crisis Standards of Care Advisory Committee was convened by the Commissioner of Public Health to prepare guidance in the event of the potential scarcity of necessary medical treatment resources in the Commonwealth caused by a surge in need due to the number of people suffering from COVID-19. This Committee included medical experts and ethicists from across the Commonwealth, representing both large academic medical centers and community hospitals and charged with expeditiously developing recommendations for ethical, equitable and transparent guidelines for providing acute care during a crisis. The full guidelines can be found here.
APRIL 7, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued an Executive Order requiring grocery stores to limit occupancy to no more than 40 percent of maximum occupancy. Stores with a maximum capacity of 25 are exempt from this limit. The full order can be found here.
APRIL 7, 2020 – The Administration announced a new infusion of $800 million at MassHealth in critical stabilization funding to support health care providers impacted by and responding to COVID-19. This funding will support hospitals, nursing facilities, primary care providers, behavioral health providers, and long-term services and supports providers and will be distributed starting this month and through July. This funding is in addition to the $290 million in immediate cash relief and $550 million in accelerated payments to providers announced in March. The Executive Office of Health and Human Services will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation. Read the full announcement here.
APRIL 7, 2020 – The Administration announced the launch of a new Nursing Home Family Resource Line, a dedicated telephone line that will connect family members of nursing home and rest home residents with the information and resources they need. The line is staffed from 9 AM – 5 PM, seven days a week. Families and community members can call the line at (617) 660-5399.
APRIL 7, 2020 – The Administration and CVS announced the launch of a new rapid testing site in Lowell, which will enable on-the-spot COVID-19 testing and results at no cost. The new CVS site in Lowell will use the new Abbott ID NOW™ COVID-19 test. CVS Health will be transitioning its efforts to support COVID-19 testing in Massachusetts to the Lowell location, which allows for up to 1,000 patients to be tested per day and receive results on-site so they can properly quarantine or seek treatment as appropriate. More information can be found here.
APRIL 6, 2020 – The Administration announced the operation of a Battelle N95 decontamination system scheduled to be operational in the Boston area, thanks to Partners Healthcare. The Battelle system uses FDA-approved N95 decontamination technology. It will be the fourth site operational in the U.S. The system can decontaminate up to 80,000 masks per day, which should cover all demand in Massachusetts.
APRIL 3, 2020 – The Administration announced the creation of the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. This initiative is a collaboration between the administration and Partners In Health, and is the first of its kind in the nation. The initiative will focus on tracing the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients, and supporting individuals in quarantine, and builds on the efforts already underway from the Command Center to leverage public health college students to augment the contact tracing being done by local boards of health.
APRIL 2, 2020 – The Command Center outlined projections for anticipated surge of COVID-19 cases. The projections are the result of the Command Center’s work with medical experts and epidemiologists from Harvard University, University of Guelph and Northeastern to refine models related to the expected surge of COVID-19 cases. The full Advisory Board can be found here. The model’s latest projections estimate that the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Massachusetts could range from 47,000 to 172,000 (or 0.7% to 2.5% of the total population of Massachusetts). The models show hospitalizations would potentially peak between April 10-20. The full Command Center projection chart is here. As part of the updated essential business list published on March 31, 2020, the Department of Public Health issued new guidance taround hotels, motels, inns, beds and breakfasts and other short-term residential rentals. Based on this new guidance, hotels, motels, and short-term rentals may only be used for efforts related to fighting COVID-19, like front line health workers or individuals, or for Massachusetts residents who have been otherwise displaced from their residences. The full hotel and motel guidance is here.
APRIL 2, 2020 – Governor Baker issued an emergency order requiring all coastal beach reservation parking areas managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to close effective 12:00 PM on Friday, April 3, 2020 to reduce large concentrations of people at beaches during the COVID-19 outbreak. Additionally, effective 12:00 PM on Friday, April 3, 2020, DCR will open select seasonal state parks early and expand access at other parks to provide additional open space opportunities for residents to enjoy and alternatives to popular state parks throughout the Commonwealth. The full list of seasonal state parks is here. The full order on state beaches is here.To centralize COVID-19 updates that impact the state parks system, DCR recently developed a Massachusetts State Parks COVID-19 Updates webpage which can be found here.
APRIL 2, 2020 – A field medical station with more than 200 beds is scheduled to be set up at the DCU Center in Worcester. The DCU facility will be the first of three temporary field medical stations that the Commonwealth is working to set up after requesting and receiving federal approval.
APRIL 1, 2020 – The Department of Higher Education has consolidated resources, to help guide public and private higher education institutions in early prevention and response efforts, as well as long-term planning. More information can be found here.
APRIL 1, 2020 – The RMV announced that all of the passenger plate registrations that have expired in March or will be expiring in April have been extended for 60 days. Registrations that expired in March have been extended until May 31st and registrations that expire in April have been extended until June 30th. More details on RMV services and the RMV’s response to COVID-19 can be found here.
MARCH 31, 2020 – The Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources (MDAR) has created a website with all COVID-19 resources relevant to agriculture. MDAR’s COVID-19 website can be found here.
MARCH 31, 2020 – The Administration announced that the stay-at-home advisory will remain in effect. Residents are advised to stay home and avoid unnecessary travel and other unnecessary person to person contact during this time period. Residents who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19 should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible. The Stay at Home Advisory can be found here.
MARCH 31, 2020 – The Group Insurance Commission (GIC) has created a website with all COVID-19 resources. Information about GIC benefits during the outbreak can be found here.Updates from the GIC can be found here.
MARCH 31, 2020 – The Department of Transitional Assistance(DTA) launched an online application portal to assist with applications for Transitional Aid to Families with Dependent Children (TAFDC) and Emergency Aid to the Elderly, Disabled and Children (EAEDC) programs. The online portal is here.
March 31, 2020 – The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) approved the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s (DESE) request to waive the requirement that school meal sites be located in areas where at least 50% of school lunch program participants are eligible for free and reduced-price meals. Therefore, all school districts distributing meals during school closures related to COVID-19 now eligible for USDA reimbursement. Also, a link to Project Bread’s School Closure Meal Site Finder is now on DESE’s COVID-19 page. Visit Project Bread’s Closure Meal Site Finder.
March 31, 2020– The Department of Early and Secondary Education (DESE) has created several web pages with COVID-19 resources:
Web pages related to special education services
Web pages related to educator preparation programs
Web pages related to college, career, and technical education Visit DESE’s COVID-19 page
MARCH 31, 2020 – The Administration issued an emergency order requiring that all businesses and organizations that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public will be extended until May 4. (Note: As of April 28, 2020, this order is now extended to May 18, 2020) 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. This order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people until May 4th.
The full essential services extension order is here.
The full list of essential services is updated here.
A COVID-19 Essential Services FAQ is here.
MARCH 31, 2020 – The Administration extended the guidance issued to Executive Branch employees on protocol during the COVID-19 outbreak to ensure state government can continue to provide key services while protecting the health and safety of the public and the Executive Branch workforce. Under the guidance, all employees performing non-core functions who are able to work remotely should continue to do so until May 4 (Note: As of April 28, 2020, this guidance is now extended to May 18, 2020). Some Executive Branch services and walk-in offices remain open, but residents are encouraged to use online services when available. For the status of in-person Executive Branch office locations, please click here.
MARCH 30, 2020 – The Administration issued an order providing the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS) administrative flexibility to extend financial relief to providers of critical health care and social services that serve EOHHS clients, including members of MassHealth. The financial relief may be in the form of temporary rate adjustments, supplemental payments, and new rate and payment methodologies that reflect the modified ways services are being delivered. The full order is here.
MARCH 30, 2020 – Under state law, public companies can permit shareholders and their proxies to participate in annual or special shareholder meetings by remote communication, but they are also required to hold a meeting in a physical space that shareholders can attend in person. Given the current pandemic, the Administration issued an order adjusting this physical meeting requirement. The Administration’s order permits public companies to hold annual or special shareholder meetings completely by means of remote communication, until 60 days after the end of the state of emergency. The full order is here.
MARCH 29, 2020 – The Administration announced the launch of an online portal where individuals and companies can easily donate or sell personal protective equipment (PPE). More information about this PPE procurement and donation program is here.
The program also provides an entry point for local manufacturers to get more information on adapting their businesses to produce more equipment here in Massachusetts. For information on adapting a business to produce PPE, please email the Manufacturing Emergency Response Team.
MARCH 28, 2020 – The Command Center is working with long-term care facilities to establish dedicated skilled nursing facilities to care for individuals infected with COVID-19. The initiative will offer an alternative location where individuals who are stable but still need medical care can be transferred to recover, relieving pressure on hospitals and opening up hospital beds for the treatment of patients with the greatest medical need. The Administration has received federal approval from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for this initiative. The Department of Public Health has issued an order waiving certain MassHealth regulations regarding the transfers and discharge of long-term care facility residents, for the limited purpose of safely transferring and discharging all residents living in a long-term care facility that is intended to be used as a designated COVID-19 facility.
The full order is here.
A letter to providers outlining the program is here.
MARCH 27, 2020 – The Administration announced new travel guidelines and new health care resources to support the COVID-19 response. Beginning March 27, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days.
MARCH 27, 2020 – Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced an agreement to extend the 2019 state individual income tax filing and payment deadline from April 15 to July 15 due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. This income tax relief is automatic and taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms to qualify. Individuals with questions or concerns regarding taxes can contact the Massachusetts Department of Revenue at (617) 887-6367 or send a secure e-message through MassTaxConnect. The full announcement can be found here.
MARCH 27, 2020 –The Board of Registration in Medicine will provide medical school graduates who have matched as an intern, resident or fellow with a Board-approved Massachusetts health care facility or training program with Emergency 90-Day Limited Licenses to practice medicine to ensure that our health care workforce is prepared during the COVID-19 public health emergency. To qualify, medical residents must fill out an application to be approved by the program or facility, and once approved, residents will receive the emergency license and be able to start when their program begins.
MARCH 27, 2020 – The Administration announced the launch of Buoy Health’s new online resource for residents to check their symptoms and connect with the next appropriate health care resource. This tool does not replace emergency medical care, but it may be used as a support for residents during the COVID-19 outbreak to connect them with appropriate health care resources if they display coronavirus symptoms. Buoy Health’s online 24/7 tool is free for Massachusetts residents and uses current COVID-19 guidance from the CDC and Massachusetts Department of Public Health. Visit Buoy.com/mass to learn more and use the tool.
MARCH 27, 2020 – The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has approved, in part, the Administration’s 1135 waiver to fast-track MassHealth enrollment, streamline administrative requirements for providers and better deliver critically needed health care services during the COVID-19 public health emergency. CMS has approved the following items of the waiver: enrollment of out-of-state providers and easing other provider requirements when enrolling in MassHealth; allowing providers to be reimbursed for care in alternative, unlicensed settings; and suspension of prior authorization requirements and extending pre-existing prior authorizations through the emergency.
MARCH 27, 2020 – The Administration submitted a request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts, which was approved. This declaration will provide the Commonwealth additional federal assistance beyond what was included in the Emergency Declaration declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020. The disaster declaration request includes a request for FEMA’s Public Assistance Program, which would make financial assistance available to cities and towns, state agencies, and certain non-profits statewide. The disaster declaration request also requests FEMA’s Individual Assistance Program including Disaster Unemployment Assistance and Crisis Counseling Assistance to help support residents in need during this unprecedented incident. The full letter can be found here.
MARCH 27, 2020 – The Administration has partnered with the Massachusetts Medical Society to match health and medical volunteers with communities and health care providers based on skill sets and need. There is an immediate need for respiratory therapists and public health nurses. Health care professionals interested in volunteering can sign up here.
MARCH 27, 2020 – The Administration announced new COVID-19 public health emergency responses issuing new guidelines on travel and transportation, and offering further support for health care professionals and patients. Read more here.
MARCH 26, 2020 – The Administration has issued a public health order to provide advance practice registered nurses (APRNs) in good standing with greater flexibility in their prescribing practices. Read the order here.
MARCH 25, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued an order which will require grocery stores and pharmacies to:
- Provide at least one hour per day of shopping for adults over 60-years-old.
- Offer sanitation options, such as hand sanitizer and disinfecting wipes, as available, to clean shopping carts and points of frequent contact.
- Appropriate social distancing policies, including a marked “Social Distancing Line,” beginning six feet away from all checkout counters.
- Close any self-serve food stations.
- Instruct store employees who are ill to stay home, and for stores to accommodate employees who fall in the high-risk category with alternative assignments to limit exposure.
MARCH 25, 2020 – The Administration filed An Act to Further Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and School Districts Resulting from COVID-19, which would provide administrative relief to state and local government entities impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including modifying local permitting processes, enabling municipalities to extend tax and finance deadlines, and extending deadlines for certain education requirements. A full announcement is here.
MARCH 25, 2020 – The Administration announced the following actions related to renters and homeowners:
- The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is moving to temporarily suspend terminations of federal and state rental vouchers under their purview;
- MassHousing is transferring $5 million to the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for a COVID-19 Rental Assistance for Families in Transition (RAFT) fund to assist families facing rent insecurity;
- The Division of Banks (DOB) has issued new guidance to Massachusetts financial institutions and lenders urging them to provide relief for borrowers and will advocate for a 60-day stay on behalf of all homeowners facing imminent foreclosure on their homes;
- DHCD is issuing guidance recommending that all owners of state aided low-income housing, including Local Housing Authorities and private owners, suspend both pending non-essential evictions and the filing of any new non-essential evictions; and
- Affordable housing operators are urged to suspend non-essential evictions for loss of income or employment circumstances resulting in a tenant’s inability to make rent.
Notices and guidance regarding federal and state rental assistance programs can be found here:
Guidance for Administering MRVP
Guidance for Administering ARVP
Initial policies and procedures for federal rental assistance administered by DHCD
The full guidance from the Division of Banks is here
MARCH 25, 2020 – The Administration issued an emergency order extending the closure of all public and private schools, and all non-emergency childcare programs, until May 4 in an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 in the Commonwealth. K-12 School Order Early Education School Order.
MARCH 24, 2020 – The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued an order prohibiting investor-owned utility companies from shutting off gas, electric, and water utility service to any customers for failure to pay a bill or a portion of a bill until the State of Emergency is lifted or the DPU determines otherwise. The announcement builds upon the DPU’s March 13, 2020 order by expanding the moratorium to include any investor-owned utility customers, including industrial, commercial, and small business customers. The full order is here. Read more about the DPU moratorium.
MARCH 24, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued three emergency orders to support the health care system’s response to COVID-19 related to: pharmacy practice (read the order); determination of need (read the order and read the guidance); nurse staffing (read the order).
MARCH 23, 2020 – The Administration issued an order mandating that effective Tuesday March 24, all non-essential businesses close physical workplaces to all workers, customers and the public until Tuesday, April 7 at noon. The order also prohibits gatherings of more than 10 people.
The full order can be found here.
The Administration has provided the following list of essential services
To request designation as an essential business, please click here
The Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) has provided an essential businesses FAQ, clarifying questions about which businesses fall within essential categories, as well as guidance on how essential businesses should continue operations. The full FAQs can be found here.
MARCH 23, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued a Stay-at-Home Advisory for individuals over 70 and for those with underlying health conditions as well as safe practices for the general public. More information can be found here.
MARCH 22, 2020 – The Command Center, in partnership with MEMA, has developed new guidance on prioritizing and optimizing Personal Protective Equipment during COVID-19 Response. The full guidance can be found here.
MARCH 20, 2020 – The Department of Revenue announced that it will waive any late-file or late-pay penalties for returns and payment due for meals and room occupancy taxes between March 20, 2020 and May 31, 2020. A full press release can be found here.
MARCH 19, 2020 – The Administration issued an order to activate up to 2,000 National Guard members across the Commonwealth, who will be tasked with supporting requests from state agencies for equipment, logistics, warehousing, and related duties. Local cities, towns, and state agencies should submit requests for support through the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency. The full announcement can be found here.
MARCH 18, 2020 – In response to the unprecedented impacts of the coronavirus, the Health Connector continues to make adjustments in how to best serve the residents of the Commonwealth, whether they are existing members or enrolling with the Health Connector for the first time. For your reference, please find important messages and updates to Health Connector policies in response to COVID19 crisis below, and please visit www.mahealthconnector.org/covid-19 for more information.
MARCH 18, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued an order providing for the flexible reassignment of physicians assistants. The full order can be found here.
MARCH 18, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued an order allowing pharmacists to administer substance use disorder treatment medication. The full order can be found here.
MARCH 18, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued an order requiring local boards of health to communicate to the official in their district with the responsibility of administering emergency calls the addresses of those who have tested positive for COVID-19. The full order can be found here.
MARCH 18, 2020 – The Administration announced a series of new measures to adapt childcare operations, enhance the Commonwealth’s healthcare system’s capacity, assist small businesses, and support unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 outbreak.
March 18, 2020 – The Administration issued an emergency order to ensure that licensed professionals do not have their licenses or registrations lapse due to unforeseen problems with renewal during the COVID-19 emergency. Read the Extension of Professional Licensure Order.
MARCH 18, 2020 – The Administration announced administrative tax relief measures for small local businesses that have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes that would be due in March, April and May so that they will instead be due on June 20. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
MARCH 17, 2020 – The Administration expanded access to telehealth services by requiring insurers to cover all medically necessary telehealth services related to COVID-19 testing and treatment. This will allow more residents to access care in the comfort of their homes and alleviate the burden on health care providers.
MARCH 15, 2020 – The Administration issued several new emergency actions to address COVID-19 regarding early education, secondary education and higher education institutions, gatherings and restaurants, executive branch employees, healthcare, Registry of Motor Vehicles, Unemployment Assistance, municipal governance legislation, and the Boston Marathon. Most notably:
- Elementary and Secondary Schools will suspend educational operations from March 17 until April 6. Full order available here.
- Gatherings will be limited to 25 individuals and restaurants are closed for on-premise consumption effective March 17 through April 6 (unless for takeout and delivery). Full order available here.
- Department of Public Health has posted a new list of COVID-19 testing sites for individuals who have a clinician’s referral. The list is here.
- Department of Public Health issued new guidance to hospitals regarding the implementation of alternative, acute, inpatient care space during the COVID-19 State of Emergency. A full list of DPH guidance to hospitals can be found here.
- All commercial insurers, self-insured plans, and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services related to COVID-19 testing and treatment. Insurers must do this without requiring co-pays and coinsurance for testing and treatment. Additionally, insurers cannot require prior authorization for these services. Full order available here.
March 15, 2020 – The Department of Public Health issued guidance that stipulates that all commercial insurers and the Group Insurance Commission are required to cover medically necessary telehealth services in the same manner they cover in-person services. The full DPH order can be found here.
March 15, 2020 –The Department of Public Health issued guidance that hospitals must restrict visitors and cancel non-essential elective procedures. The announcement can be found here. The order on restricting visitors can be found here.
March 15, 2020 – Governor Baker filed legislation designating September 14, 2020 as a legal holiday to support the rescheduled 2020 Boston Marathon. The announcement can be found here.
MARCH 14, 2020 – The Administration announced the creation of a COVID-19 Command Center led by Health and Human Services Secretary Mary Lou Sudders that will focus solely on pushing back against the virus and moving quickly to respond to the needs of our communities and residents, and will have complete authority and discretion to tap whatever state funds necessary. Read more about the COVID-19 Command Center.
MARCH 14, 2020 – The Administration announced new criteria for COVID-19 testing and treatment. Clinicians will no longer have to receive testing approval from the state lab, a change that will ultimately speed up the testing process. In addition, the following are newly eligible for testing: (1) Symptomatic health care works and emergency personnel; (2) Hospitalized patients suspected of having the virus; (3) People in congregate settings such as nursing homes and assisted living facilities; and (4) Clusters of acute respiratory illness or household members in close contact with the virus. Read more about the new COVID-19 testing protocol.
MARCH 14, 2020 – The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to temporarily suspend operation at the state’s three casino properties, including Encore Boston Harbor, MGM Springfield and Plainridge Park Casino in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The full statement from Mass Gaming and COVID-19 related updates can be found here.
MARCH 13, 2020 – The Administration issued an order prohibiting most gatherings of 250 people or more. The order includes, but is not limited to, the following events: community, civic, public, leisure, faith-based events, sporting events with spectators, concerts, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, festivals, and any similar event or activity that brings together 250 or more persons in a single room or single space at the same time in a venue such as an auditorium, stadium, arena, large conference room, meeting hall, theatre, or any other confined indoor or outdoor space. Read more about the emergency order here.
MARCH 13, 2020 – The Commonwealth activated a 2-1-1 call line to support residents throughout the ongoing response to COVID-19. Massachusetts residents can call at any time for real-time COVID-19 information, resources and referrals in multiple languages. Learn more about the 211 call line.
MARCH 13, 2020 – The Department of Public Utilities (DPU) issued a moratorium requesting utility companies refrain from shutting off gas and electric service to residents across the Commonwealth. Read more about the DPU moratorium.
MARCH 12, 2020 – The Administration issued an emergency order temporarily modifying the state’s Open Meeting Law in order to allow state, quasi and local governments to continue to carry out essential functions and operations during the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. The full text of the order is available here.
MARCH 12, 2020 – The Administration released new policies to further protect individuals served in community-based and congregate care settings from respiratory illnesses, including Coronavirus (COVID-19). The new guidance is for Assisted Living Residences, Congregate Care Settings, In-Home Caregivers and Workers (Agency Based and Non-Agency Based), and Community Day Program Settings. Read more here.
MARCH 11, 2020 – The Administration released policies restricting visitors to nursing homes and rest homes in order to protect older adults at higher risk for Coronavirus (COVID-19) and other respiratory illness. Read more here.
MARCH 10, 2020 – The Administration declared a state of emergency, giving the Administration more flexibility to respond to the outbreak. Read more here.
Jump to other COVID-19 resource pages:
MA Department of Public Health (DPH)
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
World Health Organization (WHO)
Federal & State Government Updates:
Federal Government Updates and Guidance
The Baker-Polito Administration
4th Middlesex District Resources & Information:
COVID-19 Constituent Resource Guide