Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces in Massachusetts

These new standards apply universally to all workplaces in Massachusetts, and are designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers.


The Department of Public Health (DPH) and the COVID-19 Command Center developed new Mandatory Workplace Safety Standards in consultation with the Reopening Advisory Board. These new standards will apply universally to all reopening workplaces, and are designed to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission to employees and customers during the first phase of reopening, and are applicable to all sectors and industries.

These safety standards have been supplemented by sector-specific safety protocols and recommended best practices, which provide further details and limited exceptions.

Social Distancing Policy

  • All persons, including employees, customers, and vendors should remain at least six feet apart to the greatest extent possible, both inside and outside workplaces
  • Establish protocols to ensure that employees can practice adequate social distancing
  • Provide signage for safe social distancing
  • Require face coverings or masks for all employees 

Hygiene Protocols

  • Provide hand washing capabilities throughout the workplace
  • Ensure frequent hand washing by employees and adequate supplies to do so
  • Provide regular sanitization of high touch areas, such as workstations, equipment, screens, doorknobs, restrooms throughout work site

Staffing and Operations

  • Provide training for workers regarding COVID-19 safety which includes at least:
    1. Signs and symptoms of COVID-19;
    2. Risk of asymptomatic spread of COVID-19;
    3. Employee and employer requirements under COVID-19 Workplace Safety Regulations, including sector specific standards;
    4. Anti-retaliation protection available under 454 CMR 31.00
  • Training shall be documented, and provided at no cost to the employee during working hours
  • Employees who are displaying COVID19-like symptoms do not report to work
  • Establish a plan for employees getting ill from Covid-19 at work, and a return-to-work plan
  • Employers should take measures to ensure employees comply with all State-issued rules concerning out of state Travel for any employer-paid or -reimbursed travel

Cleaning and Disinfecting

  • Establish and maintain cleaning protocols specific to the business
  • When an active employee is diagnosed with COVID19, cleaning and disinfecting must be performed
  • Disinfection of all common surfaces must take place at intervals appropriate to said workplace


Sector Specific Safety Protocols and Best Practices

Mandatory safety protocols and recommended best practices for sectors that were eligible to open in Phases 1, 2 and 3. Additional sector guidance for future phases will be issued at a later date. 


Information to help businesses meet the self-certification requirement.

All businesses must meet these requirements before reopening. 

  • COVID-19 control plan template – Template that satisfies the written control plan requirement for self-certification (click on link, fill out the form and save/print for your records)

  • Compliance attestation poster – Poster that businesses are required to print, sign, and post in an area within the business premises that is visible to workers and visitors (click on link, download and print and then post at the store)

      • Employer and Worker posters – Posters that businesses can print and display within the business premises to describe the rules for maintaining social distancing, hygiene protocols, and cleaning and disinfecting

Employer Poster (click on link, download and print and then post at the store)

Worker Poster (click on link, download and print and then post at the store)


  • Tuesday, March 24, 2020 9:57 AM | Anonymous
  • Monday, March 23, 2020 12:21 PM | Anonymous

    Governor Charlie Baker has issued an emergency order requiring all businesses and organizations that do not provide "COVID-19 Essential Services" to close their physical workplaces and facilities to workers, customers and the public as of Tuesday, March 24th at noon until Tuesday, April 7th at noon. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations remotely. 

    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. 

    In regard to the retailer of alcohol beverages, "Package Stores" have been listed under the Essential Services Guidelines. The specific language is listed below.


    • Workers supporting groceries, pharmacies and other retail, including farmers markets and farm stands, that sells food and beverage products, including liquor stores.
    • Restaurant carry-out and quick serve food operations - Carry-out and delivery food employees
    • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers

    Click each of the documents below for the Order by the Governor and the full list under Exhibit A:

    Governor's Order of Continued Operations of Essential Services

    Essential Services List

    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 continue operations. On-premises consumption of food or drink is prohibited.

    Please stay safe, look to the welfare of your employees and help protect your customers.


    Rob Mellion



Massachusetts Package Stores Association, Inc.
30 Lyman St., Suite 2 / Westborough, MA 01581
Phone: (508) 366-1100 / Fax: (508) 366-1104

Contact Us

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software