Friday, August 07, 2020

Updated Rules Have Been Set for Massachusetts Bars, Including What Constitutes "Food"

Ever since Phase 2 of the reopening of the Massachusetts economy commenced in June, there has been confusion as to the exact definition of a bar as it pertains to whether drinking spots could actually open or whether they would have to wait until Phase 4. Now the state has clarified things a bit--and the updated rules could affect at least some bars that are currently open.

According to the updated safety standards and checklist page for restaurants within the site, a "restaurant" is defined as a place that has seated food service where the food is prepared on-site and in which the spot has a "retail food permit issued by a municipal authority pursuant to 105 CMR 590.000." The note goes on to say that "potato chips, pretzels, and other pre-packaged or manufactured foods" are not considered food that is prepared on-site, meaning that any bars that are only offering such items with people's drinks will not be able to be open until Phase 4. CBS Boston mentions that Governor Charlie Baker said the following in today's press conference in reference to the issue:

Bars are closed in Massachusetts. Bars masquerading as restaurants also need to be closed. Previously, health and inspection officials have been tasked with enforcing many of these COVID orders, today I'm authorizing all state and local police officers to enforce these orders, and event hosts who violate these orders will be subject to fine.

CBS says that a new COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team will be set up to carry out the orders, including the issuing of fines. (The safety standards and checklist page says that the updated standards will take effect on Tuesday, August 11.)

As of now, it appears that Phase 4 will not commence until a therapeutic and/or vaccine is in place to fight the coronavirus.

[Earlier Articles]
The Uncertainty of Phase 4 and How It Creates a Nightmarish Situation for Certain Bars and Clubs in Massachusetts
Reopening of Bars in Massachusetts Has Been Pushed Back to Phase 4 -- But What Constitutes a Bar?

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]

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