We are now in the middle of Phase 1 of the gradual reopening of Massachusetts as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, and while Phase 2 will mark the opening of restaurants (with restrictions) and Phase 3 will mark the opening of bars, how, exactly, does Gov. Charlie Baker's administration define what a bar is in this case? It doesn't seem as straightforward as one might think.
According to a page on the state website that looks into the four-phase approach to reopen the state, restaurants are slated to reopen as early as June 8 and bars are slated to reopen as early as June 29, as each phase lasts a minimum of three weeks.
A note next to the section on bars brings up some questions, saying that "Bars are defined as establishments that only serve alcohol and do not have kitchen areas that prepare food on-site." If taken literally, this would means that nearly all bars would be included with restaurants and could reopen in Phase 2, as there are very few drinking spots that do not offer food made on the premises (a few that come to mind include Brendan Behan in Jamaica Plain, Croke Park/Whitey's in South Boston, and Sligo Pub in Somerville).
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A recent Facebook post from the upcoming Donahue's Pub in Holbrook hints that there appears to be some confusion out there about this, as they say they do not expect to debut until at least June 29 because they believe that they "don't have the proper kitchen to be a restaurant," and yet their menu shows a variety of food items including pizza, wings, steak and cheese egg rolls, chicken sandwiches, onion rings, fries, and more.
Hopefully the Baker administration can clarify this over the coming days as it also (presumably) starts posting guidance for restaurants and bars now that we are getting closer to the possible start of Phase 2, and eventually, Phase 3.
Guidelines Set in Place for Reopening of Restaurants and Bars in Massachusetts
by Marc Hurwitz (Also follow us on Twitter at @hiddenboston)
[A related post from our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants): List of Restaurant Closings and Openings in the Boston Area]