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Massachusetts to Lift COVID-19 Restrictions, Adopt CDC Face Covering Guidance on May 29, 2021

  • May 18, 2021

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has announced the state will lift its COVID-19 restrictions and adopt the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) face covering guidance on May 29, 2021. The City of Boston announced it will align with this plan. Municipalities around the Commonwealth are free to adopt reopening plans slower than the state’s.

Industry Restrictions End

All industries will be permitted to open at 100 percent capacity on May 29, 2021. Except for face-covering requirements for public and private transportation systems and facilities housing vulnerable populations, all other industry restrictions also will be lifted.

All industries will be encouraged to follow CDC guidance for cleaning and hygiene protocols. Businesses will be permitted to voluntarily maintain restrictions, such as face coverings and social distancing, and the Governor has asked that customers and patrons abide by any such restrictions.

Face Covering Guidance

In line with the updated CDC face covering guidance, Massachusetts will rescind the current face covering order and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will issue a new face covering advisory that goes into effect on May 29, 2021. The guidance advises non-vaccinated people to continue wearing face masks and to continue distancing in most settings. It recommends that fully vaccinated individuals no longer need to wear a face covering or social distance indoors or outdoors, except in certain situations.

Under the advisory, face coverings will still be mandatory for all individuals on public and private transportation systems (including rideshares, livery, taxi, ferries, and transportation stations), in healthcare facilities, and in other settings hosting vulnerable populations, such as congregate care settings.

Face coverings will continue to be required indoors for staff and students of K-12 schools and early education providers.

State of Emergency

Governor Baker will end the Commonwealth’s State of Emergency on June 15, 2021. Until then, the administration, legislature, and municipalities will work together to manage an orderly transition from emergency measures adopted by executive order and special legislation during the period of the State of Emergency.


Jackson Lewis attorneys are closely monitoring updates and changes to legal requirements and guidance and are available to help employers weed through the complexities involved with state-specific or multistate-compliant plans.

If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work, or any member of our COVID-19 team.

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