LETTER TO THE EDITOR: State Department of Public Health Issues Document to Guide Owners with Re-opening Businesses

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Editor’s note: Bill August is a partner at Epstein & August, LLP, a law firm concentrating in the representation of municipalities in cable television and related telecommunications matters.

William August, Esq. COURTESY PHOTO

On the extremely important subject of safely reopening workplaces, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH), working with the Massachusetts Reopening Advisory Board and the Governor’s Office, issued workplace reopening guidance in the form of a document titled Reopening: Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces applicable to what is defined as ‘Phase 1’ of the reopening framework as set forth and described in the two links immediately below:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/reopening-mandatory-safety-standards-for-workplaces

https://www.mass.gov/news/baker-polito-administration-announces-four-phase-approach-to-reopening-and-publishes-mandatory

Note that the above standards have been issued in advance of the commonwealth even allowing reopening of many ‘non-essential’ businesses or identifying with specificity which industries shall be eligible for reopening in Phase 1; however, the standards were issued in advance of such actual reopening to allow adequate planning and preparations to enable compliance and safe implementation when the time comes for such reopening.  By way of the briefest of summaries, the standards provide information on, among other things, face coverings or masks, social distancing protocols and signage, cleaning protocols, and training for employees regarding social distancing and hygiene.

It is important to note that the Administration has stated that more detailed workplace reopening information and standards will be forthcoming.  The guidance at the above links is therefore in that sense preliminary and not complete by any means.

The above is not legal counsel necessarily applicable to your specific organization and is just being shared as general information made public by the commonwealth of Massachusetts.  Seeking further guidance tailored to your individual circumstances is often appropriate and useful before applying such general guidance to any individual or specific organization and its circumstances.  Most importantly, we hope this finds you well and safe in these most challenging times. Stay safe. Best regards,  Bill August, Esq.