Governor Charlie Baker says that Massachusetts restaurants will soon be able seat up to 10 people at a table and use their bar areas to serve food. The governor made the comments Wednesday during a visit to a Lowell restaurant that the moves that take effect Monday are intended to help the industry that has faced severe restrictions intended to help slow the spread of the coronavirus. 

Roughly 20 percent of Massachusetts restaurants have permanently closed their doors since the onset of the pandemic and now with the cold weather right around the corner, outdoor dining will soon not be an option for restaurants that are already struggling to remain open.

The governor said during his daily media briefing Wednesday that bars remain closed in the State, but those spaces can be used for dining customers, as long as the other restaurant safety guidelines are followed. Massachusetts rules require customers who order drinks to also order food.

Bars are closed, nightclubs are closed but the evidence from other states with respect to this issue are clear. Restaurants can use bar seating for regular food service with appropriate distance in place. ~ Governor Charlie Baker

 

The new seating guidelines will apply to both indoor and outdoor dining, while outdoor dining is still viable. Tables will still need to be spaced at least 6 feet apart or separated by plexiglass or another physical barrier.

Baker also said at his briefing Wednesday…

Until there’s a medical breakthrough like a vaccine, we have to do all we can, working with our colleagues in the food service business, to keep our restaurants and our other businesses safe.

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