Baker’s executive orders and directives

Some have narrow focus, other have wide-ranging consequences

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

SINCE GOV.  CHARLIE BAKER declared a coronavirus state of emergency on March 10, the executive branch has been busy spelling out in orders, advisories and guidance documents exactly what should and what should not happen as the state deals with the pandemic.

Some of the governor’s order and directives have widespread and sweeping consequences — the closure of all non-essential businesses and an urging to stay at home as much as possible — while others are more narrow and are meant to address fairly specific issues, like pharmacy operations.

But during the state of emergency, the orders handed down by the governor function essentially as temporary laws and the steady rollout of new executive actions sheds some light on the various fronts on which state government and public health officials are fighting the coronavirus.

March 10 —
Executive Order No. 591: Declaration of a State of Emergency to Respond to COVID-19

March 11 —
New licensure policy from the Board of Registration in Nursing

March 12 —
Order of the Public Health Commissioner restricting visitor access to nursing homes and rest homes to protect higher-risk populations from COVID-19

Order suspending certain provisions of the Open Meeting Law

March 13 —
Order prohibiting gatherings of more than 250 people

March 15 —
Order temporarily closing all public and private elementary and secondary schools

Order expanding access to telehealth services and to protect health care providers

Order prohibiting gatherings of more than 25 people and on-premises consumption of food or drink

Order authorizing the registrar of motor vehicles to temporarily extend licenses, permits, and other identification cards

Order of the Public Health Commissioner mandating that hospitals must cancel non-essential elective procedures

Order of the Public Health Commissioner permitting licensed pharmacies to create and sell hand sanitizer over the counter

Order of the Public Health Commissioner restricting visitor access to assisted living facilities

Order of the Public Health Commissioner restricting some visitor access to hospitals

March 17 —
Order extending the registrations of certain licensed health care professionals

Order expanding access to physician services

Order of the Commissioner of Public Health providing for continuity of emergency medical services care

Order of the Commissioner of Public Health implementing emergency credentialing and licensed staff transferprocedures for medical facilities in the commonwealth

March 18 —
Order of the Commissioner of Public Health regarding the administration of certain medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder

Order of the Commissioner of Public Health regarding the flexible reassignment of physician assistants

Order temporarily closing all child care programs and authorizing the temporary creation and operation of an emergency child care program

Order of the Commissioner of Public Health regarding the sharing of critical information with first responders

March 20 —
Order authorizing actions to reduce in-person transactions associated with the licensing, registration, and inspection of motor vehicles. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito said during a Friday afternoon press conference that the order “allows the registrar to extend vehicle registrations, and modify the conditions of registrations, plates and titles, and it also allows the registrar and the Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection the authority to waive certain inspection requirements.”

Order permitting the temporary conditional deferral of certain inspections of residential real estate

Others —
The Baker administration this week also issued guidance for executive branch workers regarding remote work policies and the designation of essential employees. On Friday, the Department of Revenue’s Division of Local Services sent a bulletin to local officials with guidance on emergency expenditures related to COVID-19.

March 23 —
Order assuring continued operation of essential services in the commonwealth, closing certain workplaces, and prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people

List of COVID-19 essential services

Revised guidance regarding the order by the governor prohibiting assemblages of more than 10 people and on-premises consumption of food and beverages

Stay-at-home advisory for individuals over 70 and for those with underlying health conditions; and safe practices for the general public

Order permitting facilities licensed by the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission to create and donate hand sanitizer to certain entities

Order of the commissioner of public health modifying certain requirements for inspections by the chief medical examiner

March 24 —
Order suspending services provided in congregate settings by EOHHS day programs

Order of the commissioner of public health related to pharmacy practice

Order of the commissioner of public health regarding determination of need approvals related to COVID-19

Order of the commissioner of public health exempting hospitals from the nurse staffing requirements of M.G.L. c. 111, §231

March 25 —
Order extending the temporary closure of all public and private elementary and secondary schools

Order extending the temporary closing of all non-emergency child care programs

Department of Housing and Community Development guidance to owners of state aided low-income housing

Department of Housing and Community Development guidance to affordable housing operators

Division of Banks message to industry regarding mortgage loan borrowers impacted by COVID-19

Order addressing operation of grocery stores and pharmacies

March 26 —
Request to the federal government for a Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts

Order of the commissioner of public health authorizing independent practice of advanced practice registered nurses

Order suspending state permitting deadlines and extending the validity of state permits

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