Business closures and stay-at-home advisory. Governor Baker outlined a stay-at-home advisory beginning Tuesday, March 24th at noon. The Governor ordered all non-essential businesses to close their physical operations to workers and customers. Grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, gas stations and other essential retail stores will remain accessible, and he said he would not be ordering people to stay in their homes. If you do go out or take a walk, Baker stressed that people should use “common sense” and observe social distancing. “Everyone is advised to stay home and limit all unnecessary activities,” Baker said. The new executive orders will remain in place until April 7. Essential businesses also include delivery and packaging operations, medical facilities and pharmaceutical manufacturers. Restaurants offering take-out food can also continue to operate. Medical marijuana dispensaries will remain open, but recreational pot shops must close. The governor also said the MBTA would continue to operate, but urged people to only use the T if necessary. The stay-at-home advisory was reassessed by Governor Baker on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 and due to the expected surge of COVID-19 cases, this order has been extended until Monday, May 4, 2020. You may view executive orders here. The essential services emergency order has been extended to May 18, 2020. A Reopening Advisory Board was also launched that will produce a plan to the Governor by May 18. The Administration further announced that the Department of Public Health’s Stay At Home Advisory remains in effect and gatherings of 10 or more people remain prohibited until May 18, 2020. To view additional information, please click here.
Governor Charlie Baker has ordered that all bars and restaurants in Massachusetts would no longer be permitted to offer on-premise consumption starting Tuesday, March 17 and through April 17. Restaurants are allowed to serve take-out only.
The Governor also banned gatherings larger than 25 people until April 6.
Retail stores can stay open as long as they have 25 people or less in them.
Hotel/Motel Guidance. The DPH issued new guidelines around hotels, motels, inns, beds and breakfasts and other short-term residential rentals. Based on the updates to the essential business list, hotels, motels, and short-terms rentals can only be used for efforts related to fighting COVID-19. This includes frontline health workers or individuals who have been displaced from their homes. You can click here for the hotel/motel guidance.
Plainridge racing. The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted unanimously to postpone the start of live harness racing at Plainridge Racecourse — the only track that will host live racing in Massachusetts this year — until at least June 1.
Temporary Closure of State Parks’ Athletic Fields and Courts. The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has temporarily closed athletic fields and courts, such as basketball, tennis, handball, pickle ball, and bocce, throughout the state parks system effective today, March 24, 2020 until Tuesday, April 7, 2020, at which time the closure will be reassessed. Importantly, all state parks across the Commonwealth remain open and available for the public to visit. DCR reminds residents and visitors to avoid gathering in groups of ten or more people, maintain social distancing, and practice healthy personal hygiene to stop the spread of the virus. Similarly, DCR has extended the closure of agency-owned ice rinks, visitor centers, campgrounds, playgrounds, fitness areas, and bathroom facilities until Tuesday, April 7, 2020, which will also be reassessed at that time. The temporary extension of the closure of these facilities is consistent with an emergency order issued by Governor Charlie Baker on Monday, March 24, 2020 and reassessed on Tuesday, March 31, 2020.