These Mass. Cities Are Opting Out of Relaxed Restaurant Guidelines, for Now

Massachusetts restaurants can now expand table parties from six to 10 and can seat people at the bar

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While restaurants in Massachusetts will be allowed to accommodate bar seating and more people per table starting Monday, some cities are opting out of the new relaxed restrictions from the state.

Cambridge restaurants will continue to maintain a limit of six people per table despite an announcement from Gov. Charlie Baker last week, which allows up to 10 people and bar seating. Bar stools will also remain empty in Cambridge until Saturday, Oct. 3, pending the city's inspection and approval.

Some restaurants in Massachusetts will expand the size of parties per table and start seating people at the bar on Monday, while others opt out of new relaxed restrictions from the state.

The new state guidelines, which apply to both indoor and outdoor seating, call for tables to be six feet apart. Bar seating is allowed as long as patrons remain seated and order food while bartenders maintain a six-foot distance or stay behind a 30-inch barrier. Masks are required except while seated.

Cambridge isn't alone. Other cities are keeping bars closed and limiting tables to six per until further notice, including Boston, Worcester and Framingham.

Governor Charlie Baker announced that bar seating will be allowed, and up to 10 customers per table.

Boston will wait on seat expansion as the city's COVID-19 positivity rate continues to rise, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Wednesday. City officials are reviewing the data and taking precautions to avoid entering the state’s red high-risk map.

Framingham officials cited the city's “red zone” designation for coronavirus transmission risk as the reason for waiting to relax guidelines.

Massachusetts has a positivity rate of below one percent, which allowed for the new regulations and expanded seating to take foot.

Bars and nightclubs are still closed until Phase 4 of the state’s reopening, which is not expected until a COVID-19 vaccine is readily available. 

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