Effective December 26, 2020, Massachusetts businesses will see additional restrictions on occupancy capacity and gathering sizes.  These new measures, which were announced by Governor Charlie Baker, are intended to prevent a post-Christmas surge of COVID-19 infections.  Massachusetts saw significant increases in infections, hospitalizations, and deaths related to the pandemic following the Thanksgiving holiday, when many people failed to heed recommendations to avoid large gatherings.  The Governor hopes that these new restrictions will avoid a further spike in COVID-19 numbers following Christmas.

Continue Reading Massachusetts Governor Imposes Additional Restrictions, Seeking To Avoid Post-Christmas Surge

Employers have been asking for months whether they may mandate employees to get a COVID-19 vaccine.  According to the EEOC’s recent guidance, the short answer is “yes,” but with certain legal limitations.  Employers considering a policy on vaccinations should make sure they review this current guidance.

On December 16, 2020, the EEOC updated its Q&A

With the availability of COVID-19 vaccines on the horizon, employers are wondering whether they can or should require employees to receive a vaccine. After all, there could be significant benefits for the operations of many businesses if employees are vaccinated against COVID-19.

There are no federal or state laws which prohibit an employer from mandating that employees receive vaccinations, including influenza or pandemic influenza vaccines. However, while employers may mandate influenza vaccines under certain circumstances, there are two primary exceptions to this principle that have been identified by the federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”): (1) when an employee has a qualifying disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) that prevents the employee from being vaccinated; and (2) when an employee has a sincere religious belief that prevents the employee from being vaccinated.


Continue Reading Should Employers Mandate COVID-19 or Flu Vaccines?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is expected to issue shortly new guidelines for quarantine periods, according to Director Robert Redfield.

Under the expected new guidelines, the quarantine period for those who have come in close contact with an infected individual may end after 7 days for those who test negative. For those

As Thanksgiving and what is traditionally the busiest holiday travel period approaches, COVID-19 numbers are rising, and state governments are doubling down on travel and quarantine restrictions.

The State of NH revised its travel guidance on November 12, 2020 changing the quarantine period for those NH residents who travel internationally (including to/from Canada); on a cruise ship; or domestically outside of the New England states for non-essential purposes.  Essential travel includes travel for work, school, personal safety, medical care, care of others, parental shared custody, for medication, and brief trips for take-out food and groceries.  Of course, the guidance continues to discourage business from allowing business-related travel for non-essential purposes.


Continue Reading States Issue New Travel and Quarantine Restrictions in Advance of Thanksgiving Holiday

Governor Sununu issued Emergency Order #74 (the “Order”) on November 19, 2020 mandating the wearing of masks or cloth face coverings in indoor and outdoor public spaces where individuals are unable to or inconsistently maintain a physical distance of six feet from persons outside their own household. The order takes effect on November 19, 2020. Relevant portions of the Order are summarized below:

  • All persons over the age of 5 in the State of New Hampshire are covered by the Order.
  • “Public spaces” includes any part of public or private property that is generally accessible to the public including lobbies, waiting areas, restaurants, retail businesses, streets, beaches, parks, elevators, restrooms, and parking areas.
  • Municipalities are free to enact ordinances which are stricter than the Order.
  • The Order does not override any provision of industry specific guidance related to face coverings referenced in Emergency Order #52.  Where there is a conflict, the industry specific guidance controls.


Continue Reading Governor Sununu Issues Emergency Order Mandating Masks

Effective Friday, November 6, 2020, Massachusetts residents will be required to wear a mask or cloth face coverings at all times when in any public place, with limited exceptions.  This new directive expands upon a prior mask mandate issued by Governor Charlie Baker in May.  Under the earlier order, residents were instructed to wear face coverings in public when it was not possible to maintain six feet of social distancing.  The new order removes the distance qualification, and essentially requires people to keep their masks on at all times.  “We’re basically saying if you go out in public, wear a mask,” the Governor said during a press conference announcing the new order.  Governor Baker imposed the harsher rule in light of rising COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates in Massachusetts this fall.

Continue Reading Massachusetts Governor Issues Stronger Mask Mandate

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated the definition of “Close Contact.” Among other things, the new definition effects the close contact and monitoring process recommended by the CDC.

The term “Close Contact” is now defined as:

Someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have recently issued guidance for Thanksgiving celebrations in light of the continuing risks associated with COVID-19 exposure. The CDC recommends that: “Staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others.” The CDC believes that having a small dinner with just household members is the safest