Coronavirus (COVID-19): Temporary Changes to the Massachusetts Open Meetings Law

On March 12, 2020, Governor Baker issued an Executive Order suspending certain portions of the Open Meeting Law during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus)-related state of emergency. Specifically, as of March 12, 2020, your Boards and all sub-committees may take the following actions and remain in compliance with the Open Meetings Law:

  • Convene your meeting in a location that is not open and physically accessible to the public, as long as alternative, free means of accessing the deliberations of the meeting are provided to the public. For example, your Board could convene a meeting where all Board members dial into a conference bridge phone number. However, that conference bridge phone number must be provided to the public prior to the meeting and allow for public participation. Internet or video conferencing are also permissible, as long as the public can participate through the internet or video conferencing service.
  • Convene your meeting without a quorum or Board director physically present at the meeting site. A quorum is still required for the meeting. However, the quorum need not be physically in the same location. Similarly, the Board director must still participate. He/she need not physically be at the specified meeting location.
  • If your Board conducts a remote meeting, it must ensure that all non-Board members who were scheduled to participate in or appear before the Board are able to participate in the meeting remotely as if he/she were a member of the Board.

These procedures remain in effect until the Executive Order is rescinded or until the state of emergency is lifted, whichever happens first. All other provisions of the Open Meeting Law remain in effect.

For more information about compliance with the Open Meetings Law during the Massachusetts state-of-emergency, please contact Greg Vanden-Eykel at 617.654.8200.