In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed. Staff are working remotely. Email is likely the most efficient way to reach us. You can find our contact information on the Staff page under the About link below.

Building, plumbing and wiring inspectors are responding to emergencies only.

All meetings, workshops and forums are cancelled or have been changed to a call-in or video format.  Please look for emails from FRCOG staff about specific meetings or on our calendar at the Meetings and Events link below.

Re-Opening Information

Un-Numbered Update 6/30/20: Travel Guidance

Governor Baker announced updated guidance this afternoon for those traveling to Massachusetts:  All travelers arriving to Massachusetts – including Massachusetts residents returning home – are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days, except that, beginning July 1, 2020, travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, and New Jersey arriving in Massachusetts are exempt from this directive and need not self-quarantine for 14 days.  In addition, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are exempt from the directive to self-quarantine for 14 days if traveling to Massachusetts for work purposes. All persons are instructed not to travel to Massachusetts if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19.​  For Massachusetts travel information, please visit the Department of Public Health’s (DPH) website here: Travel Information Related to COVID-19. For national travel information, please visit www.travel.state.gov

Update #49 | Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance and Support for Local Public Health Staff and BOH Members

DESE Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance: The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) has released Initial Fall School Reopening Guidance. Please see the DESE COVID-19 web page and download the guidance using this link.

Support for Local Health Department Staff and Board of Health Members: The Department of Public Health (DPH) has contracted with CMG Associates (a psychological consulting firm in Newton) to support local health department staff and members of boards of health (BOH) in addressing challenges associated with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As documented in experiences reported in Massachusetts and in national media stories, staff and BOH members are often confronted by residents and/or business owners with angry rhetoric and threats associated with enforcement of COVID-19 reopening orders and standards. CMG Associates will provide one-to-one support as requested and professional development opportunities on stress and change management. This free and confidential support will be particularly valuable in cities and towns in which employee assistance programs and similar supports are not available. Please contact Bruce Cedar, EdD at bcedar@cmgassociates.com for more information and to access services.

Update #48 | COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group, Phase II Step 2 of Reopening Massachusetts, Get tested MA!, Telephonic Interpreter Services

This page replicates information sent out from the Command Center to Local Boards of Health, but is of wide interest to others. It is organized in the order it was sent out by the Commonwealth. Note that much useful information can be found at the state’s Re-Opening Sector-Specific Guidance page by clicking here. 

COVID-19 Health Equity Advisory Group published its recommendations on June 19, 2020

Phase II Step 2 of Reopening Massachusetts began on Monday, June 22.

Please click the following links for current guidance and other information:

 Get tested MA! Website  and ​​Press Release

Continuation of Telephonic Interpreter Services: MDPH will continue to provide funding for the use of interpreter services for COVID-19 follow-up for another year. See this document.

RE: Update #47 | Educational Materials for Test Sites

 

Update #46 | Town Hall Offices, Restaurants, Cooling Centers, PPE for Camps, Emotional PPE

Town Hall Office Space

  • Municipalities should limit occupancy of municipal office spaces to 25 percent of (a) the maximum occupancy level specified in any certificate of occupancy or similar permit or as provided for under the state building code; or (b) the business organization’s typical occupancy as of March 1, 2020.
  • However, if a municipality designates a municipal office as a “COVID-19 Essential Service”, which it is has the discretion to do, then that Office has until July 1, 2020, to comply with the 25% occupancy limitations.
  • Further, a municipality may determine that a municipal office can exceed the maximum occupancy level if the municipality determines that it is in the interest of public health or safety considerations or where strict compliance may interfere with the continued delivery of a critical service, as determined by the municipality.

Improved Restaurant Guidance and Standards

The following information has been added to all of the restaurant guidance and standards:

  • “Outdoor table service” shall mean service that is provided outside the restaurant building envelope, whether on a sidewalk, patio, deck, lawn, parking area, or other outdoor space. Outdoor table service may be provided under awnings or table umbrellas or other coverings from the elements, provided, however, that at least 50 percent of the perimeter of any covered dining space must remain open and unobstructed by any form of siding or barriers at all times (note that sides which have only a screen in place have been deemed to be considered open).

Useful Links as a Follow-up to the Conference Call

Update #45 | Town Meetings, Data and Disparities, Senior Housing Testing, and Youth Sports

Here are updates related to town meetings, COVID-19 data collection and disparities, and guidance for senior housing testing and youth sports.

·         COVID-19 Information for Local Boards of Health

Update #44 | Test Pass:

  • Template For Public Health Nurses to Issue to  Close Contacts

Update #43 | Reopening Phase II, Breweries and Food Trucks

Over the weekend, the Baker-Polito Administration announced the transition to Phase II of Reopening Massachusetts. Your tireless work at the local level —enforcement, contact tracing, public education, and more—made critical contributions to the Commonwealth’s success in achieving positive trends in the COVID-19 data metrics. Those trends have allowed us to move to Phase II . We greatly appreciate  your ongoing partnership with us as we continue to take steps to keep people safe and save lives while reopening the economy. The press release at the following link contains important information about Phase II:

Breweries and Food Trucks: Licensees for on-premises consumption of alcohol may commence outdoor seated food service, provided food is prepared on-site under a retail food permit issued by a municipal authority pursuant to 105 CMR 590.000.  Indoor service will remain prohibited until further order from the Governor.  Please note that establishments that do not offer seated table service of food that is prepared on-site under a retail food permit are not allowed to open in Phase II. Whether or not a food truck can be used to obtain a retail food permit is a matter for the local licensing authority to review.

Update #42 | Breweries and Wineries, Face Covering Decision Guide, ABCC Advisories,  Yard Sales

Breweries and Wineries

  • Breweries and wineries are allowed to continue to operate take-out services.
  • Breweries, wineries and bars are not eligible to open until Phase 4.
  • Breweries and wineries are eligible to be open in Phase 2 if they provide seated food and beverage service.
  • Seated service – the intent is that patrons stay seated at same table for duration (occasional walk to restroom) and do not mingle in the venue.
  • Breweries and wineries may establish new seated service (may need permission from town in licensing).   A food truck can be used to prepare food for seated table service. However, all food and beverage must be served to the patrons. There cannot be any self-service or mingling by patrons.
  • Compliance with MA COVID Standard for Restaurants is required.
  • Places serving food must meet other applicable state and local regulations.

Department of Labor Standards COVID Face Covering Decision Guide 6-4-2020

Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission Advisories

 Yard Sales Guidance and Resources: Department of Labor Standards provided the following response to questions regarding yard sales:

  • A yard sale, by definition, is private activity of personal household goods on private property —- so DLS will not take any action.
  • A town can continue to regulate Yard Sales according to local ordinance.  The town could elect to deny permit until Phase 2 when retail can open in state.
  • ​The 10-person gathering rule in public would apply.
  • Yard sale guidance developed by Greenfield. Springfield yard sales ordinance. 

Update #41 | Additonal EEA Guidance, Farm Worker Testing, Bottle and Can Redemption

Note that Parks, Open Space and Outdoor Education is overall the same as Phase I except that it has been updated to be consistent with the youth & adult sports guidance. Coastal and Inland Beaches guidance has not changed – there is only some minor clean-up.

Update #40 | EEA Pools, Playgrounds, Spray Decks, and Outdoor Fitness Guidance

The Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA) has posted guidance on pools and playgrounds:

Update #39 | Adult/Youth Sports Guidance

Update #38 | Phase 2 Reopening Preparations, Long-Term Care Visitation, CARES Act Resources, Data Dashboard

Phase II Reopening Preparations

Guidance Issued for Long-Term Care Outdoor Visitations
New Metrics Added to Daily Dashboard
COVID-19 Resources and Guidance for Municipal Officials

Update #37 | Tennis Lessons, Outdoor Classes, and Driving Schools in Reopening Phase 1

Tennis Lessons: There are no differences in Phase 1 between tennis lessons on private courts vs public courts

Outdoor Classes: 5-18-20-parks-open-space-and-outdoor-education-best-practices — standards and guidance on outdoor classes (such as gym, yoga, dance, personal fitness, etc) is attached. The classes can be done with strict rules:

  • 6 feet of separation between participants
  • 12 feet of separation between activity stations
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times
  • No shared equipment, tools or materials
  • Gathering must be less than 10 people, including staff/instructors
  • Class must have pre-registration process
  • Temporary signage needs to be in place
  • All equipment must be disinfected after use

Driving Schools: from page 3 of the May 18th Guidance for industries on the reopening plan 20200518: Driving Schools currently allowed to offer classroom instruction on-line. Phase 2 will be the Behind-the-Wheel Training or the observation of student driver. Registry of Motor Vehicles is developing comprehensive guidance for permit testing, road tests and driving schools

Update #36 | Farms, Golf Courses, Safe Water Supplies

COVID-19 Resources for Agriculture

 Golf Courses

  • Golf course restaurants should now be treated like any other with takeout and delivery available. Takeout has to be consumed off the premises of the restaurant, including any restaurant outdoor spaces. Takeout may be picked up and taken in a golf cart out on the course.
  • Walking is encouraged, but golf carts may be used only if each cart is used by and contains only a single rider, or a group of family members living in the same house.  Any carts used must be cleaned and sanitized after each use.

Reopening: Safe Water Supplies: Mold and legionella reopening guidance