At a press conference on May 29, 2020, Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced a plan for re-opening restaurants throughout Massachusetts. Re-opening will commence during Phase 2, with a specific date expected to be announced the first week in June.
Below is a synopsis of the re-opening plan:
• The state issued guidance and standards for the restaurant industry in advance of Phase 2, focused on four categories:
1. Social Distancing
2. Hygiene Protocols
3. Staffing and Operations
4. Cleaning and Disinfecting
• Outdoor dining will begin at the start of Phase 2.
• Indoor dining will begin later in Phase 2, subject to public health data.
• Tables must be 6 feet apart.
• Maximum party size will be 6 people.
• Outdoor seating will be encouraged, even after indoor seating is authorized.
• All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers (e.g., around bar areas) is prohibited
• All customer-facing workers (e.g., servers, bus staff) must minimize time spent within 6 feet of customers
The Lt. Governor is working with state representatives to streamline local zoning and permitting and MassDOT on “complete streets” program options for dining on sidewalks and public streets.
In addition to the re-opening plan, a pending bill (S.2944) would authorize the ABCC to defer to local governments on outdoor seating expansions and alterations of premises applications.
Specific regulations for restaurant re-opening can be found here: http://download.openthedoor.biz/public/Restaurants_Circular_Eng_FINAL.pdf
Adam Barnosky is a shareholder and co-leads the firm’s Hospitality & Retail Services Practice Group. Adam represents various professionals and companies within the hospitality industry, including national hotel brands, James Beard-nominated chefs, industry-recognized fast-casual companies, and numerous premier restaurateurs included in Boston Magazine’s Annual “50 Best Restaurants” List. Adam can be reached at email@example.com, (617) 570-3519, or on Twitter at @adambarnosky.
This summary is presented for informational and educational purposes only, does not constitute legal advice, nor create an attorney-client relationship. For a full understanding of the issues, please contact counsel of your choice.