food & drink

Guidelines Set in Place for Reopening of Restaurants and Bars in Massachusetts

It looks like there may finally be some light at the end of the tunnel for restaurants and bars in the Greater Boston area and elsewhere in Massachusetts.

Based on information from today's press conference, Gov. Charlie Baker and his administration have set up a four-phase approach to reopen the Massachusetts economy based on public health guidance.

General information is given in a section within the state website while more detailed information has been posted as well, indicating that dining areas within restaurants will be allowed to open back up -- with restrictions and some capacity limitations -- during Phase 2 and bars -- also with restrictions and capacity limitations -- during Phase 3, with Phase 1 being a continuation of takeout/delivery only.

Each phase will go for at least three weeks, so it appears that restaurants will not be able to open for at least three weeks while bars will not be able to open for at least six weeks. (Bars are defined here as "establishments that only serve alcohol and do not have kitchen areas that prepare food on-site.") In addition, nightclubs will not be able to reopen until Phase 4, which would be at least nine weeks from now.

The guidance information also says that "We are actively considering whether additional guidance will be provided to restaurants before Phase 2," so stay tuned for updates.

Baker's initial order that only allowed restaurants and bars in Massachusetts to offer takeout/delivery began on March 17 in response to the coronavirus outbreak, and it was initially planning to end on April 6 but the date was then pushed back so that its last day would be May 18.

by Marc Hurwitz (Also follow us on Twitter at @hiddenboston)


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