Vol. II No. 16 8/15/2021
As Covid recedes...
- Masking up — Some private businesses require masks and/or proof of vaccination to enter. The Commonwealth issued the following: "Effective July 30...Fully vaccinated individuals are advised to wear a mask or face covering when indoors if you have a weakened immune system, or if you are at increased risk for severe disease because of your age or an underlying medical condition, or if someone in your household has a weakened immune system, is at increased risk for severe disease, or is an unvaccinated adult. Masks are still mandatory for all individuals on public and private transportation systems (including rideshares, livery, taxi, ferries, MBTA, Commuter Rail and transportation stations), in healthcare facilities and in other settings hosting vulnerable populations, such as congregate care settings."
- Guidance on holding meetings pursuant to the Act Extending Certain COVID-19 Measures
On June 16, 2021, Governor Baker signed into law An Act Extending Certain COVID-19 Measures Adopted During the State of Emergency. This Act includes an extension, until April 1, 2022, of the remote meeting provisions of his March 12, 2020, Executive Order Suspending Certain Provisions of the Open Meeting Law. The new law has two major parts.
First, the new law allows public bodies to continue providing live "adequate, alternative means" of public access to the deliberations of the public body, instead of holding meetings in a public place that is open and physically accessible to the public. "Adequate, alternative means" may include, without limitation, providing public access through telephone, internet, or satellite-enabled audio or video conferencing or any other technology that enables the public to clearly follow the proceedings of the public body in real time.
Second, the new law authorizes all members of a public body to continue participating in meetings remotely; the Open Meeting Law's requirement that a quorum of the body and the chair be physically present at the meeting location remains suspended.
The definition of a Hybrid meeting is a meeting both in person and via Zoom.
Photo: Lionel Delevingne