Massachusetts to Remove Most COVID-19 Business Restrictions

May 25, 2021

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced on May 17 that Massachusetts will rapidly accelerate the commonwealth’s reopening process by adopting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People. Effective May 29, all businesses can open at 100% capacity, with very limited exceptions. The governor also announced that the 14-month state of emergency will end on June 15, 2021.

This announcement accelerates the commonwealth’s reopening schedule by more than two months. Despite prior commitments to a slower schedule, Boston Mayor Kim Janey announced that Boston will follow the state’s guidance and reopen on the same timeline. Other large municipalities, including Cambridge, have announced that they also plan to follow the state’s timeline.

As of May 29, all industries will be permitted to reopen. Businesses are encouraged to follow CDC guidance for cleaning. As of March 2021, Massachusetts had removed all travel restrictions, which were replaced with an advisory.

The state’s current mask order and restrictions on certain businesses will remain in effect until May 29, after which businesses can implement additional safety restrictions, but the existing state restrictions will be lifted. On the same day, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) will issue an “Advisory Regarding Face Coverings and Cloth Masks,” which follows the CDC guidance and advises that unvaccinated individuals continue wearing masks and maintaining distance. After May 29, fully vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to wear masks, with limited exceptions. Under the DPH advisory, masks will be required in the following circumstances, both for vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals:

  • On public transportation (including ferries, subways, buses, trains, and at transportation stations) and private transportation (taxis, private car services, and rideshares)
  • In healthcare facilities, including hospitals, doctors’ offices, congregate care settings, and rehabilitative day service locations
  • In schools and early education sites, including for staff and students of K-12 schools


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If you have any questions or would like more information on the issues discussed in this LawFlash, please contact any of the following Morgan Lewis lawyers:

Siobhan E. Mee

New York
Douglas Schwarz