UPDATED: Gov. Baker Orders Non-Essential Businesses To Go Remote Or Close As of Tuesday

BOSTON – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today, March 23, ordered all businesses and organizations that are not providing essential services to close, effective Tuesday at noon.

Gov. Baker said the order will run until April 7.

All non-essential businesses will have to close their physical workspaces and facilities to customers and the public. Remote operations are allowed.

Obviously, hospitals, medical companies, and city municipal services like police & fire are essential.

Grocery stores and pharmacies are essential, and can remain open.

Banks and gas stations are essential.

Medical marijuana dispensaries are essential but recreational marijuana retailers are not essential.

Restaurants are essential as long as they do take out or delivery but NOT dine-in, explained the governor.

Banks, laundrymats, and pet stores are considered essential.

Essential businesses that remain open still need to practice social distancing.

Full list is at the bottom of this report of essential businesses.

The Governor said local governments will be responsible for enforcing this new order. There are fines if businesses do not comply.

A first offense would result in a warning, followed by a $300 fine for a second offense and a $500 fine or prison time for additional offenses, according to the state’s guidelines.

Gov. Baker said “everyone is advised to stay home.”

“He asked for everyone to use their “common sense” and”limit interactions with other people.”

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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 this two-week time period.

This 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.

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 evolving spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts, Governor Baker has 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 70 years of age or with underlying health conditions, who are considered at high risk when exposed to COVID-19, should limit social interactions with other people as much as possible.

The Baker-Polito Administration does not believe Massachusetts residents can be confined to their homes and does not support home confinement for public health reasons.

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, 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, like a park or athletic field.

Click here for the full list of categories of “COVID-19 Essential Services”

Categories of COVID-19 Essential Services:

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

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