COVID-19: Essential Services

Learn about businesses and organizations defined as providing “COVID-19 Essential Services” under Governor Baker’s March 23, 2020 Emergency Order

Governor Charlie Baker 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.  Businesses that provide essential services according to the essential services list do not need to take any further action in order to continue operating.  Businesses will not receive a designation or certification from the Commonwealth specific to their individual company. 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.

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.

Food and Agriculture

  • 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
  • Food manufacturer employees and their supplier employees—to include those employed in food processing (packers, meat processing, cheese plants, milk plants, produce, etc.) facilities; livestock, poultry, seafood slaughter facilities; pet and animal feed processing facilities; human food facilities producing by-products for animal food; beverage production facilities; and the production of food packaging
  • Farm workers to include those employed in animal food, feed, and ingredient production, packaging, and distribution; manufacturing, packaging, and distribution of veterinary drugs; truck delivery and transport; farm and fishery labor needed to produce our food supply domestically
  • Farm workers and support service workers to include those who field crops; commodity inspection; fuel ethanol facilities; storage facilities; and other agricultural inputs
  • Workers supporting the seafood and fishing industry
  • Employees and firms supporting food, feed, and beverage distribution, including warehouse workers, vendor-managed inventory controllers and blockchain managers
  • Workers supporting the sanitation of all food manufacturing processes and operations from wholesale to retail
  • Company cafeterias – in-plant cafeterias used to feed employees; food service workers in residential schools with students who are unable to leave campus
  • Workers in food testing labs in private industries and in institutions of higher education
  • Workers essential for assistance programs and government payments
  • Employees of companies engaged in the production of chemicals, medicines, vaccines, and other substances used by the food and agriculture industry, including pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, minerals, enrichments, and other agricultural production aids
  • Animal agriculture workers to include those employed in veterinary health; manufacturing and distribution of animal medical materials, animal vaccines, animal drugs, feed ingredients, feed, and bedding, etc.; transportation of live animals, animal medical materials; transportation of deceased animals for disposal; raising of animals for food; animal production operations; slaughter and packing plants and associated regulatory and government workforce
  • Organizations and workers responsible for the care and custody of animals, pets and livestock
  • Workers who support the manufacture and distribution of forest products, including, but not limited to timber, paper, and other wood products
  • Employees engaged in the manufacture and maintenance of equipment and other infrastructure necessary to agricultural production and distribution

Public Works

  • Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential dams, locks and levees
  • Workers who support the operation, inspection, and maintenance of essential public works facilities and operations, including roads and bridges, water and sewer main breaks, fleet maintenance personnel, construction of critical or strategic infrastructure, traffic signal maintenance, emergency location services for buried utilities, maintenance of digital systems infrastructure supporting public works operations, and other emergent issues
  • Workers – including contracted vendors – involved in the construction of critical or strategic infrastructure including public works construction, airport operations, water, sewer, gas, electrical, nuclear, oil refining and other critical energy services, roads and highways, public transportation, solid waste collection and removal, and internet, and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services)
  • Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, inspectors and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, construction sites and projects, and needed facilities
  • Support, such as road and line clearing and utility relocation, to ensure the availability of needed facilities, transportation, energy and communications
  • Support to ensure the effective removal, storage, and disposal of residential and commercial solid waste and hazardous waste
  • Licensed site clean-up professionals and other workers addressing hazardous spills, waste sites, and remediation.
  • Workers who support the operation, maintenance and public safety of state parks, forests, wildlife management areas, water supply protection lands, and other critical natural resources.
  • Workers who support storm clean-up operations (e.g., foresters).

Other Community-Based Essential Functions and Government Operations

  • Workers to ensure continuity of building functions, including local and state inspectors and administrative support of inspection services who are responsible for the inspection of elevators, escalators, lifts, buildings, plumbing and gas fitting, electrical work, and other safety related professional work
  • Security staff to maintain building access control and physical security measures
  • Elections personnel
  • Federal, State, and Local, Tribal, and Territorial employees who support Mission Essential Functions and communications networks
  • Trade Officials (FTA negotiators; international data flow administrators)
  • Weather forecasters
  • Workers that maintain digital systems infrastructure supporting other critical government operations
  • Workers at operations centers necessary to maintain other essential functions
  • Workers who support necessary credentialing, vetting and licensing operations for transportation workers including holders of Commercial Drivers Licenses
  • Workers who are critical to facilitating trade in support of the national, state and local emergency response supply chain
  • Educators and staff supporting public and private emergency childcare programs, residential schools for students with disabilities, K-12 schools, colleges, and universities for purposes of facilitating distance learning, provision of school meals, or performing other essential student support functions, if operating under rules for social distancing
  • Hotel workers
  • Critical government workers, as defined by the employer and consistent with Continuity of Operations Plans
  • Construction Workers who support the construction, operation, inspection, and maintenance of construction sites and construction projects (including housing construction)
  • Workers that provide services for or determine eligibility for public benefits such as subsidized health care, food and feeding programs, residential and congregate care programs, shelter, in-home supportive services, child welfare, juvenile justice programs, adult protective services and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise needy individuals (including family members)
  • Workers in sober homes
  • Professional services (such as legal and accounting services) and payroll and employee benefit services, when necessary to assist in compliance with legally mandated activities and critical sector services or where failure to provide such services during the time of the order would result in significant prejudice
  • Commercial retail stores that supply essential sectors, including convenience stores, pet supply stores, auto supplies and repair, hardware and home improvement, and home appliance retailers
  • Laundromats and laundry services
  • Workers and instructors supporting academies and training facilities and courses for the purpose of graduating students and cadets that comprise the essential workforce for all identified critical sectors
  • Workers at places of worship