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Massachusetts Restaurants Can Officially Reopen for Outdoor Dining on Monday, June 8

In a June 6 press conference, Gov. Charlie Baker confirmed that phase two of the state’s reopening plan will begin on June 8

Nighttime shot of the exterior of a restaurant, including an illuminated patio under wooden trellises. People are dining inside and out. Signage reads “Semolina & Bar”
Medford’s Semolina Kitchen & Bar intends to open up its patio right away, although not for full table service yet — customers can pick up takeout orders inside and eat them on the patio, and servers will take drink orders outside. (This photo was taken pre-COVID; masks will be required, except while eating.)
Rachel Leah Blumenthal/Eater

Massachusetts embarks on phase two of its reopening plan on Monday, June 8, Gov. Charlie Baker confirmed in a press conference today. That means that restaurants can begin to reopen for table service on Monday, but only outdoors for now, after only being able to operate for takeout and delivery since mid-March. Indoor dine-in service is slated to begin at a to-be-determined date later in phase two. (Each phase lasts three weeks — or more, if necessary, based on several points of coronavirus data — so “later in phase two” would possibly come around mid-to-late June.)

Phase two reopenings also include bars, breweries, wineries, distilleries, and beer gardens that provide food service. Those that don’t serve food will have to wait for phase four of the process, along with nightclubs, and phase four won’t begin until late July at the earliest. This is a change from an earlier version of the reopening plan, which put drinking establishments without food in phase three, not four.

Restaurants must follow a lengthy list of requirements and recommendations when they reopen — new cleaning protocols, distancing of tables, and lots more. Many are using ordering and payment technology to keep the experience as contact-free as possible. Here’s a closer look at the guidelines and regulations. (Read the full list on the state’s reopening website.)

The Baker-Polito administration worked with an advisory board to put together the specific guidelines for restaurants. The board included restaurateur Steve DiFillippo (Davio’s), restaurateur Ed Kane (Big Night Entertainment Group), and Bob Luz, the president and CEO of the Massachusetts Restaurant Association.

Here’s a roundup of restaurants that intend to open their patios next week. Stay tuned for updates on a timeline for the return of indoor dining.

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