Food & Drink

How Soon Will Restaurants Reopen in Mass.?

A new panel is working on a set of guidelines it hopes will allow eating establishments to open as early as June 8

NBCUniversal, Inc.

A new panel formed as part of Gov. Charlie Baker's reopening plan is working on a set of guidelines it hopes will allow restaurants to open in Massachusetts as early as June 8.

Many restaurants have remained open for delivery and takeout, but reopening for outdoor service wasn't even included in the first phase of Baker's plan. Instead, they'll have to wait until Phase 2, and bars aren't scheduled to reopen until Phase 3.

If the state's coronavirus figures continue to trend in a positive direction, Baker has said that each phase should last about three weeks. That would put the start of Phase 2 around Monday, June 8, exactly three weeks after the reopening plan kicked off.

“The group is working on the premise that we’re working towards a June 8 date, because that would be three weeks from the May 18 announcement," Bob Luz, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, told Luz serves on the reopening panel along with several other representatives of the local restaurant industry.

He said the guidelines they've developed so far recommend six feet between tables in restaurants and parties of no more than 10. Other proposed safety requirements would include masks for employees and plenty of hand washing and sanitizing.

The Boston Business Journal reports the panel has already met twice to help develop a plan for how to safely open the state's restaurants. It is also working on rules for reopening hotels and cultural sites.

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