Dear Colleagues –As COVID-19 cases increase dramatically locally, regionally, and across much of the country, I write to convey updated guidance regarding in-person MBL meetings and to stress the importance of celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday safely. This guidance is intended to limit spread of COVID-19 among all of us who work, study, and conduct research on the MBL campus.

Updated Guidelines for In-Person Meetings 
MBL employees working on-campus should continue to meet remotely (e.g. using Zoom or Teams) whenever possible. In the event that an in-person meeting is necessary, the gathering should not exceed the meeting room’s posted maximum occupancy. Individuals must wear masks at all times and maintain social distancing. Update: Any meeting greater than 10 people must be approved by me and a meeting attendance log must be kept. All 10+ in-person meeting requests should be sent to

Mask Reminder 
A mask order requiring face coverings in in all public places, even when a distance of 6 feet of distance from others is maintained, went into effect in Massachusetts on November 6. All MBL staff are reminded to wear a mask while transiting between buildings outdoors, even if alone or greater than 6 feet away from another person. Several outdoor mask break areas across the campus have been designated for employee use. See Guidance on Using Masks in MBL Work Areas for specific guidance.

Limit Holiday Travel and Gatherings 
The MBL strongly discourages travel during the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday period and urges against large gatherings. This is difficult advice for all of us to hear during a time when family and friends traditionally come together. However, as state and federal experts have emphasized, in the current pandemic situation even small gatherings that mix households are potentially dangerous.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised that the safest way to celebrate Thanksgiving in-person this year is with the people in your household. Similarly Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has warned residents to rethink their Thanksgiving plans. If you’re going to spend Thanksgiving with people outside your household, CDC officials say you should take precautions to make the celebration safer. In addition the website offers public health guidance and tips for celebrating safely. 

Currently only four states (New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont, and Hawaii) are exempt from quarantine under the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ COVID-19 Travel Order. Anyone entering Massachusetts from a non-exempt state must complete a travel form and acknowledge that they will quarantine for 14 days or can produce a negative COVID-19 test result that has been administered up to 72-hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts. Regionally it is becoming increasingly difficult to cross state lines without encountering some type of quarantine and/or testing restriction. Several New England states (Maine, Vermont and Connecticut) require Massachusetts travelers to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.

Employees who travel out of state regardless of destination are reminded to complete the MBL’s internal travel form. This will help us work with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health to limit exposure in the event of a positive test case.

As the Commonwealth experiences an alarming rise in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, everyone should continue to diligently monitor their health for symptoms every day before arriving at the MBL using the Mandatory Daily Health Screening form as a guideline.

I have been greatly encouraged by the efforts all of you make every day to limit the spread of COVID-19 on our campus. Thank you for your continued diligence and community-minded approach to health and safety. Please visit the COVID-19 Guidelines and Resources webpage for more information and updates. Thank you in advance for observing these important guidelines.

Paul Speer
Chief Operating Officer