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January 2022: Massachusetts Adopts Mask Advisory in Response to Surging COVID-19 Cases

04 Jan

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Update Applicable to:
All employers in the state of Massachusetts

What happened?
On December 21, 2021, Governor Charlie Baker announced that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) advises that all residents, regardless of vaccination status, wear a mask or face covering when indoors (and not in their own homes).

What are the details?
The DPH particularly urges this recommendation for people who have a weakened immune system, are at increased risk for severe disease because of their age or an underlying medical condition, or live with someone who has a weakened immune system, are at increased risk for severe disease, or are unvaccinated. Governor Baker stated during his press conference he has “no interest” in mandating masks, but local government can pursue alternative options.

The following persons are exempt from the face coverings requirement:

  • Children under five years old
  • Persons for whom a face mask or covering creates a health risk or is not safe because of any of the following conditions or circumstances:
    • The face mask or covering affects the person’s ability to breathe safely;
    • The person has a mental health or other medical diagnosis that advises against wearing a face mask or covering;
    • The person has a disability that prevents them from wearing a face mask or covering; or
    • The person depends on supplemental oxygen to breathe.

Masks are still required regardless of vaccination status for the following settings:

  • On Public and Private Transportation
  • Healthcare Facilities
  • Congregate Care Facilities
  • Emergency Shelter Programs
  • Houses of Correction, Department of Correction Prisons, Jails, and Other Correctional Facilities
  • Healthcare and Day Services and Programs Operated, Licensed, Certified, Regulated, or Funded by the Commonwealth, including the Executive Office of Health and Human Services or one of its agencies
  • Home Healthcare Workers

For more information, please see the links below:

State of MA COVID-19 Mask Requirements

Winter Advisory Regarding Face Coverings

Article 1Article 2

What do employers need to do?
Employers should review the information provided in the links above to ensure they are up to date on the latest advisory and COVID-19 mask requirements.

Need help understanding how changes to employment laws will affect your business?

Learn more about how Vensure's Massachusetts PEO services can help you navigate complex employment laws and keep your business compliant.


This communication is intended solely for the purpose of conveying information. The present post might incorporate hyperlinks directing readers to websites managed by third-party entities. The inclusion of any links within this communication is meant to serve as points of reference and could encompass opinion articles from various law firms, articles from HR associations, official websites, news releases, and documents of government agencies, and other relevant third-party sources. Vensure has no authority over these external websites and bears no responsibility for their content. Furthermore, Vensure does not endorse the materials present on these websites. The contents of this communication should not be interpreted as legal advice or as a legal standpoint concerning specific facts or scenarios. Nor should it be deemed an exhaustive compilation of facts potentially pertinent to federal, state, or local laws. It is strongly advised that employers solicit legal guidance from an employment attorney when undertaking actions in response to any legal updates provided. This is due to the possibility of future alterations occurring in federal, state, and local laws, regulations, as well as the directives and guidelines issued by governing agencies. These changes may transpire at any given time, potentially rendering certain portions of the content within this update void or inaccurate.

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