June 19, 2020


Gov. Baker Gives Green Light to Resume Indoor Dining on Monday & 
Allows Use of Dressing and Fitting Rooms (by appointment)


Gov. Charlie Baker announced today that Phase 2 of the Reopening Massachusetts plan will expand beginning on Monday June 22nd, allowing for indoor dining at restaurants and increasing the allowable office occupancy to 50% of capacity.  Also beginning Monday, retailers will be allowed to reopen dressing and fitting rooms by appointment only, an important step forward for the bridal and formal wear sector.
Restaurant rules will include spacing tables to maintain at least a 6’ distance from all other tables and any high foot traffic areas, limiting party size to 6 people, and a continued prohibition on bar seating.  Dressing and fitting room rules will dictate that garments must be steam cleaned or held out for 24 hours before being returned to the sales floor.
The updated guidance will be available in the sector-specific safety protocols and recommended best practices, which is expected to be updated shortly.  All businesses must continue to comply with the Mandatory Safety Standards for Workplaces
Impacted members are encouraged to closely review the new Phase 2 Step 2, restaurant and retail sector guidance once it is posted by the state. 


Gov. Baker & Legislative Leaders Announce Extension of Sales & Meals Tax Relief


 Yesterday, Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced additional administrative tax relief for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.   
The MA Department of Revenue (DOR) had previously extended the deadline to June 20, 2020, for returns and payments for certain sales and use (including meals) tax and room occupancy vendors for periods beginning February 1, 2020 through April 30, 2020.  That deadline is now being further extended to September 20, 2020.  The extension will now apply to returns and payments for periods beginning February 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020.
As with the prior extension, the extension for sales and use tax returns and payments applies to vendors with cumulative liability for sales and use tax (including local option) under $150,000 in the 12–month period ending February 29, 2020. The extension applies to sales, use and meals taxes collected by eligible vendors in the period beginning February 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020.  For vendors with cumulative liability for meals taxes of $150,000 or more during the 12-month period ending February 29, 2020, penalties will be waived for late filing and late payment with respect to February through July 2020 returns. Interest will continue to accrue.
Additional details can be found in the updated DOR regulation 830 CMR 62C.16.2: Sales and Use Tax Returns and Payments and the related Technical Information Release, the due date has been pushed out to September 20, 2020



Safety Vendors of Covid-19 Products & Services – UPDATE


Cove Risk Services continues to work in conjunction with the Retailers Association of Massachusetts (RAM) and the Massachusetts Package Stores Association to search for viable vendors for members of the Massachusetts Retail Merchants Workers’ Compensation Group (MRM). 
We have added a few different vendors offering products such as temperature scanner kiosks, automatic hand sanitizer dispensers, hand sanitizer wipes dispensers, and clear protective barriers. We have also included Covid-19 cleaning service companies covering MA.

Click here for the list of vendors.


What you should know about taxes if you are buying or selling masks

Read the MA DOR Blog on masks, face coverings, and the sales tax.

MassDOT Announces Funding Program to help cities and towns create Shared Streets and Spaces

to support public health, safe mobility and renewed commerce


MassDOT is pleased to announce the launch of a new funding program for the Commonwealth’s municipalities - “Shared Streets and Spaces”- providing technical and funding assistance to help Massachusetts cities and towns conceive, design and execute shared streets and spaces projects while engaging their residents and businesses in that process. This program is a quick-launch/quick-build grant program that will provide grants as small as $5,000 and as large as $300,000 for cities and towns to quickly implement or expand improvements to sidewalks, curbs, streets, on-street parking spaces and off-street parking lots in support of public health, safe mobility, and renewed commerce in their communities.

Click here for all of the information needed to apply and questions can be directed to [email protected].  Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis beginning on June 22nd


Springfield Area Members:  

RAM to Speak at Industry Roundtable

Hosted by The Springfield Regional Chamber

 to discuss best practices and lessons learned about reopening.

Monday, June 29 at 9:00 am to 10:00 am

This Zoom meeting is free to attend, click here to register.