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A Cambridge Bar Was Turned Into an Antibody Testing Site. Here's Why It Was Shut Down

A Cambridge restaurant that was repurposed to offer coronavirus antibody testing has been shutdown by city officials due to permitting issues

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A bar-restaurant in Cambridge, Massachusetts has been forced to close its doors again amid the coronavirus pandemic after it was transformed into a testing site.

Peter Stein, owner of Wit’s End at 1248 Cambridge St., wanted to provide antibody testing for people who may have had coronavirus, according to the restaurant's social media pages.

A COVID-19 antibody testing site in Cambridge has been shut down because it wasn't licensed with the city.

Blood samples were sent to a commercial lab, according to the posts, and people were charged a fee for the service and for the cost of the test itself. But it wasn’t long before the city shut the operation down.

According to a LinkedIn newsletter called "Beyond the Call," Stein partnered with his brother – a Dr. Benjamin Stein of Manhattan, New York - to get the site up and running, bringing back employees that had been laid off.

And... Pivot! Being closed for months has caused so many serious challenges for restaurants, employees, communities,...

Posted by Wit's End on Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Cambridge Health Department received a complaint about the antibody screening site and notified the Board of Registration in Medicine Monday, which was then referred to the Board’s Enforcement unit for investigation.

A Cambridge restaurant-turned testing site was shut down by the city due to permitting issues.

"After an investigation, City staff determined that the premises were being used for a medical office without a certificate of occupancy for the change of use having been obtained," Cambridge spokeswoman Lee Gianetti said in a statement.

The city ordered that the business remain closed until the owner demonstrates compliance with the local zoning laws and obtains proper certification, licensing and permitting.

...and scene. Due to a zoning use challenge from the City of Cambridge, we had to close. We are attempting to work with...

Posted by Wit's End on Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Dr. Stein received an Emergency Temporary License, however, which is valid for the duration of Gov. Charlie Baker's state of emergency, according to DPH.

Massachusetts Department of Public Health regulations prohibit a business from promoting as a “clinic” since it is not licensed by the state. Physicians are currently allowed to apply for temporary emergency licenses during the state of emergency if they have held a Massachusetts license in the past with a clean disciplinary record or currently have an active license in another state in good standing.

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