The Massachusetts House adopted a bill, similar to one adopted by the Senate late last week, which extends several policy provisions adopted during the COVID-19 public health State of Emergency. The legislation addresses several provisions that were set to expire on or shortly after the end of the official State of Emergency order set for today, June 15, 2021.

The legislation will allow publicly traded companies in Massachusetts to continue to host their board of directors and shareholder meetings remotely until December 15, 2021. The legislation also extends remote working flexibility for municipalities in their town meetings and other forms of municipal government. Notaries will be able to continue electronically notarizing documents until December 15, 2021.

Additionally, the legislation continues several restaurant policies including, expanded outdoor dining permitting, cocktails to go, and alcohol sales for off sight consumption.

“I applaud the Legislature for acting today. As the commonwealth transitions into the post-emergency stage of economic recovery, it is critical to look back and examine which policies during COVID actually helped the economy and which did not, and act accordingly” said Brooke Thomson, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs at AIM. “AIM looks forward to continuing the dialog with our partners in government to chart the path forward for the Massachusetts business community to ensure continued economic progress.”

The legislation also extends several rental assistance programs designed to keep tenants housed during the pandemic and subsequent economic fallout. It establishes that the inability to secure childcare is a valid reason to maintain unemployment insurance benefits until September 2021. And, the bill extends some public health measures allowing community health centers and vaccine administrators some regulatory flexibility in their COIV-19 work.

There are some inconsistencies between the House and Senate versions of the legislation that AIM anticipates will be addressed in the coming days. For example, The Senate’s bill contains language extending telehealth rate parity for insurers. While the House version extends the price caps that third-party delivery companies may charge restaurants until December 31, 2021. Following a resolution between the branches, the legislation advances to the governor’s desk for his signature.

AIM members with questions about the extended COVID-19 provisions may contact Sam Larson at the Employer Hotline at 1.800.470.6277.