Friday, March 27, 2020

A Bill Has Been Filed to Make Insurance Companies Pay for Coronavirus-Related Restaurant Closures in Massachusetts

One of the biggest worries restaurant owners in Massachusetts have been facing over the past couple of weeks is the possibility that insurance companies might not cover closures due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Now we have learned that something may be done about this.

According to an article from Boston Magazine, Massachusetts State Senator Jamie Eldridge filed a bill this week that proposes making insurance companies pay for business interruptions that are the result of the Coronavirus. Eldridge voices the concerns of many restaurant owners, saying that "We're hearing that, arguably, the part of the economy most impacted immediately has been the restaurant industry," while Andy Husbands of the Smoke Shop restaurants in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville says the bill would be "a game changer" for restaurant workers if it passes and Michael Scelfo of Alden & Harlow, the Longfellow Bar, and Waypoint in Cambridge says an insurance-related solution would be the "single best shot" of surviving the current crisis. Currently, the bill--which still needs cosponsors--would make insurance companies cover the loss of businesses that qualify until the shutdown order of March 10 is rescinded. (The bill as it stands now would cover dining spots and other businesses with 150 or fewer "full-time-equivalent" workers.)

A number of local restaurateurs have brought up their concerns on social media and elsewhere concerning the insurance issue, with Fernanda Tapia of Comedor in Newton mentioning in the article that "I've already prepared myself mentally for the idea that I can't reopen."

Information on the bill concerning business interruption insurance can be found here.

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]