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Massachusetts Restaurants Will Remain Closed Through May 4, Except for Takeout and Delivery

Gov. Charlie Baker just extended his March 15 order

Stock photograph of various types of food delivery containers piled up and arranged on a light wooden table in front of a blue background. Pixel-Shot/Shutterstock

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced on March 31 that the current stay-at-home advisory, closure of nonessential businesses, and ban on gatherings of more than 10 people will be extended until May 4, which means that all bars and restaurants in the state must also remain closed for dine-in service until at least that date.

Baker’s initial order regarding restaurants — which he made on March 15, and which went into place on March 17 — closed bars and restaurants for dine-in service through April 6, allowing takeout and delivery service to continue. They’ll still be able to continue those services as long as proper social distancing measures are taken.

A little more than a week after first announcing that bars and restaurants must cease dine-in services, Baker also announced the initial stay-at-home advisory to help block further spread of the novel coronavirus in Massachusetts. The advisory closed all businesses deemed nonessential and urged residents to remain in their homes as much as possible, avoiding all unnecessary interactions.

Bars and restaurants offering takeout and delivery are considered essential services and are therefore exempt under the stay-at-home advisory. Some remain open for business, while others have decided that doing so is not a viable option (financially or from a public health perspective).

Those that remain open may soon be able to sell beer and wine with takeout orders, something most other New England states (and other states elsewhere in the country) have already enacted.

Grocery stores also remain open but must implement various social distancing measures.

The novel coronavirus pandemic has already begun to devastate the bar and restaurant industry, in Boston and elsewhere. Restaurant owners are struggling to make payroll and pay rent (despite some help from the state legislature); vulnerable restaurant workers are struggling to feed their families and pay bills.

Baker’s latest announcement follows a March 29 announcement from President Trump extending nationwide social distancing guidelines until April 30.

COVID-19 Coverage on Eater [EBOS]