COVID-19 state of emergency in late Massachusetts could also halt alfresco dining and alcohol delivery

More than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic changed life in Massachusetts, all remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in Massachusetts on Memorial Day weekend. The move left Beacon Hill lawmakers to scramble to adjust to a post-pandemic world and decide what actions taken over the past year should become permanent state law. On June 15, Governor Charlie Baker will end the formal state of emergency that has been in place in Massachusetts since March 10 of last year, meaning any pandemic-related executive orders that were put in place would expire. Democratic State Senator Diana DiZoglio is urging her fellow lawmakers to write into law two steps that were taken during the pandemic to help struggling restaurants – one that would cap fees that can be charged by third-party delivery apps. A second bill pushed by DiZoglio would extend restaurants’ ability to sell cocktails for two years. “These measures were essential in helping our small businesses stay afloat in the face of the pandemic – and remain just as essential for them now, on the road to recovery,” DiZoglio said in a press release. When Baker lifts his emergency order, special take-out drink arrangements and a 15% cap on delivery charges will also end. On August 15, 60 days later, alfresco dining in special parklets would be forced to stop. “Sixty days is not going to fix a year and a half of all the horrible things that have happened to our industry and our businesses in general,” says Chris Glionna, Managing Partner of Aquitaine. “To say nothing of the money we put into it.” Some Massachusetts restaurants invested thousands of dollars in alfresco dining knowing it would become a big part of their business. “We can’t let this end now, and I think the lawmaker understands that,” says Steve DiFillipo, Massachusetts reopening board member. “It’s a kick in the pants for us. House Speaker Ron Mariano and Senate Speaker Karen Spilka said they were looking for a full list of pandemic-era policies that may expire or change in the wake of the state’s end. Emergency., state lawmakers are planning a virtual public hearing on several bills that would make COVID-19-related electoral changes permanent, including expanding postal voting opportunities for Massachusetts voters. The Massachusetts Restaurant Association says she is working with the governor’s office and lawmakers to find a solution. Information from the Associated Press and State House News Service was used in this report

More than a year after the COVID-19 pandemic changed life in Massachusetts, all remaining COVID-19 restrictions will be lifted in Massachusetts on Memorial Day weekend.

The move left Beacon Hill lawmakers to scramble to adjust to a post-pandemic world and decide what actions taken over the past year should become permanent state law.

On June 15, Governor Charlie Baker will end the official state of emergency that has been in place in Massachusetts since March 10 of last year.

This decision means that all executive orders related to the pandemic that were put in place would expire.

Democratic State Senator Diana DiZoglio is urging her fellow lawmakers to write into law two steps that were taken during the pandemic to help struggling restaurants – one that would cap fees that can be charged by third-party delivery apps.

A second bill pushed by DiZoglio would extend restaurants’ ability to sell cocktails for two years.

“These measures were essential to help our small businesses stay afloat in the face of the pandemic – and remain just as essential for them now, on the road to recovery,” DiZoglio said in a press release.

When Baker raises his emergency order, special take-out drink arrangements and a 15% cap on delivery charges will also end.

On August 15, 60 days later, alfresco dining in special parklets would be forced to stop.

“Sixty days is not going to fix a year and a half of all the horrible things that have happened to our industry and our businesses in general,” says Chris Glionna, Managing Partner of Aquitaine. “To say nothing of the money we put into it.”

Some Massachusetts restaurants invested thousands of dollars in alfresco dining knowing it would become a big part of their business.

“We can’t let this end now, and I think the legislature understands that,” said Steve DiFillipo, Massachusetts reopening board member. “It’s a kick in the pants for us.”

Speaker of the House Ron Mariano and Speaker of the Senate Karen Spilka said they were looking for a full list of pandemic-era policies that may expire or change as a result of the end of the emergency state.

State lawmakers are planning a virtual public hearing on Wednesday on several invoices this would make electoral changes related to COVID-19 permanent, including the expansion of postal voting opportunities for Massachusetts voters.

The Massachusetts Restaurant Association says it is working with the governor’s office and lawmakers to find a solution.

Information from the Associated Press and State House News Service has been used in this report


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