Massachusetts residents are now living under Governor Charlie Baker’s stay-at-home advisory and an order requiring all businesses that do not provide “COVID-19 Essential Services” to remain closed. Governor Baker has also instituted a 10-person limit on gatherings in the Commonwealth. Similar orders were previously scheduled to expire in early April, but have been extended through at least May 4th in response to the continued increase in the number of Massachusetts residents stricken with the coronavirus as a result of exposure to COVID-19.
Businesses that have been deemed essential in the Commonwealth are characterized into the following categories:
- Health Care/ Public Health / Human Services
- Law Enforcement, Public Safety, First Responders
- Food and Agriculture
- Water and Wastewater
- Transportation and Logistics
- Public Works & Infrastructure Support Services
- Communications and Information Technology
- Other Community, Education, Or Government-Based Operations And Essential Functions
- Critical Manufacturing
For a complete list of the essential businesses, follow this link to the Governor’s office: https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-essential-services?n.
Businesses that appear on the essential services list do not need to take any further action to continue operating and the Commonwealth will not designate or certify any businesses or individuals. While these businesses have been designated as essential, they are urged to follow social distancing protocols for workers in accordance with state and federal guidelines.
Since the initial order, the Governor’s office has issued guidelines deeming staff at government offices who perform title searches, notarizations, recording and other support services for the mortgage and real estate industries are also deemed “essential.” The various registries of deeds have restricted access but continue to accept electronic filing of most documents. Our partners at First American Title Insurance Company maintains a directory of the status of each registry https://www.firstam.com/title/agency/ma/.
Businesses and organizations that do not appear on the list of essential services are encouraged to continue operating via remote means when possible. Restaurants, bars, and other establishments that sell food and beverages to the public are encouraged to continue to offer food for take-out and by delivery if they follow the social distancing protocols and do not allow on-premises consumption of food or drink. If the function of your business is not listed, but you believe that it provides essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business.
The real estate department at Wilchins, Cosentino & Novins, LLP will be available to assist with all essential real estate related matters throughout the coronavirus pandemic and can be reached at all times. Please call Scott A. Joseph at 781-235-5500.