MASSACHUSETTS STARTS “RE-OPENING”

May 18, 2020

Governor Baker announced on May 18, 2020, that the Commonwealth will begin the process of reopening various business, industries and recreational locations over the next several weeks. The entire report drafted by Reopening Advisory Board, an advisory committee, explains how this reopening will look starting May 18th for certain types of businesses. The report is located at https://www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts-may-18-2020/download

The first “phase” in the reopening starts on May 18th and allows for construction, manufacturing, and health care facilities to perform preventative and other services.

On May 25th, other businesses will be allowed to reopen, including retail (remote and curbside pickups), offices, hair salons, pet grooming, laboratories, and car washes. The website also provides an additional list of businesses and which phase these businesses may reopen. This list is located at https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-when-can-my-business-reopen#businesses-

However, the Commonwealth will require that businesses develop a written Control Plan that outlines how it will take certain preventative measures for COVID-19. A template Control Plan may be found here https://www.mass.gov/doc/covid-19-reopening-control-plan-template/download. The control plan will not be submitted to any state agency, but a business must retain the Control Plan and produce it in the event of an inspection by state or local authorities.

In addition to the Control Plan, businesses will need to post: (1) employer poster https://www.mass.gov/doc/employer-reopening-poster/download and employee poster https://www.mass.gov/doc/employee-reopening-poster/download explaining rules and protocols for cleaning, distancing and disinfecting; and (2) compliance posters visible to employees and visitors to the work place in their place of business that affirmatively state the business’s compliance with the reopening requirements for their businesses. These compliance posters posters may be found at this link - https://www.mass.gov/doc/compliance-attestation/download.

The reopening plan also requires that businesses follow Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards (https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-mandatory-safety-standards-for-workplaces) for all workplaces, which are meant to reduce risk of new COVID-19 cases. Massachusetts government and health officials will continue to monitor COVID-19 cases and the prospective phase reopening dates may be delayed in the event of any surge in COVID-19 cases. You should continue to monitor the Mass.gov website for all updates on COVID-19.

All businesses that will reopen in phase one should immediately draft a control plan and the other required written materials described above. Those businesses that will reopen after May 18th should start to prepare this documentation in order to be ready for their currently assigned reopening date. Please obtain legal guidance for any COVID-19 legal issues or for drafting the necessary documentation that the Commonwealth expects all businesses to have in place at the time of reopening.

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