The greatest risk of increased business rules/regulations or rollback related to COVID-19 could be based on local data.

As of Friday, 81 communities are considered red or high risk.  The COVID infection rate, hospitalizations and death counts continue to rise even prior to full analysis of the impact of any related travel or gatherings activities associated with Thanksgiving.

It is important for employers to keep track of their local status. Communities moving to red or high risk may be required to revert back to Step 1 of Phase 3 (VIGILANT), which impacts business closures, reduced capacity limits, and smaller gatherings.  Communities may move from Step 1 to Step 2 based on three consecutive weeks of public health data indicating a lower risk.

  • Is your business(es) located in a red/high risk community or do your employees reside in a high risk community? Check here for the Department of Public Health report.
  • Continue to monitor DPH reports this week as more infection rate data will become available. This data will show any impacts to local community infection rates.  Click here for the daily updates and here for the local community data.

Twenty-five communities are new to the red category compared to last week: Bellingham, Berkley, Boxford, Chelmsford, East Longmeadow, Gardner, Georgetown, Haverhill, Hopedale, Leicester, Lenox, Littleton, Mendon, Merrimac, Middleton, Millbury, Monsoon, Oak Bluffs, Paxton, Rutland, Upton, Wenham, West Boylston, Westminster and Whitman.

The rest of the cities and towns in the red have been at that level since at least last week. Six others – Abington, Acushnet, Nantucket, Northbridge, Rockland and Townsend – that were in the highest risk level last week dropped down to lower designations in the latest report.

At the end of October, when the Baker administration still measured risk levels based solely on average new cases per 100,000 residents, 121 communities were in the red. Officials changed the metrics starting in November, pushing up the cases per 100,000 rate to land in the red and adding positive test rate and population as factors. That switch cut the number of highest-risk communities to just 16 in the first report under the new system.

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