Gov. Baker Is Tightening Restrictions on Bars and Restaurants
Restaurants and bars around Massachusetts have been quite creative during the COVID-19 pandemic, just to stay afloat and remain open.
But last Friday, Governor Baker called for a tightening of some of the restrictions that will call for the closings of bars who are "pretending" to be a food service business.
“Bars are closed in Massachusetts,” Baker said in a press conference on Friday. “And bars masquerading as restaurants also need to be closed.”
That means in order to count as food service, food must be prepared on-site; so serving things such as potato chips, pretzels, or popcorn and attempting to call it "food service" won't cut it.
"Potato chips, pretzels, and other similar pre-packaged, shelf-stable foods, or other food prepared off-site do not constitute food 'prepared on-site,'" the restrictions state.
Establishments remaining open for food service must have the proper retail food permit to operate.
The restrictions in place for the Phase 3 return to indoor dining require anyone inside an establishment must also order food prepared on-site along with you alcoholic beverages, and must be seated while consuming them – no more bar seating (unless it has been converted for dining use) or "standing at the bar."
Baker said a bar that poses as a restaurant and doesn't meet the specifications of a restaurant can and will be shut down by local authorities.
Every time we feel as though we are making any form of progress, there always seems to be a setback of some type. I'm not one to get political with regulations that have already been put into place, but it's been a struggle for a lot of local businesses who are losing everything, and quite frankly, it's a shame to witness.
Bars as we know them – the places where you can just grab a handful of pretzels while enjoying a beer – are not set to open until Phase 4, which won't come until there is a vaccine or a cure for COVID-19.