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Massachusetts Restaurants Can Continue Selling Booze To-Go Through May 1, 2022

Gov. Charlie Baker has extended several pandemic-era policies beyond the state of emergency, which ended this week

Stock photograph of a neon sign in a window that reads “Cold Beer to Go” in red Cory Seamer/Shutterstock

To-go cocktails are sticking around for almost another year, per a bill signed by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on June 16.

On May 29, Baker rescinded most of the state’s COVID-related mandates, with nearly the rest expiring with the end of the state of emergency on June 15. While many locals were excited for a return to some sense of normalcy, the end of the state of emergency also meant the potential end to some pandemic-era policies that were helping small businesses get by, such as to-go alcohol sales by restaurants (beer and wine came first, followed by cocktails months later), improved outdoor dining permitting, and fee caps on third-party delivery services.

The passage of today’s bill, which was approved by the Senate and House last night, allows restaurants to continue selling beer, wine, and cocktails with takeout orders through May 1, 2022. Prices must be the same as drinks consumed onsite.

Many states authorized takeout booze during the pandemic, and some are making the change permanent, such as Texas and Florida. Pennsylvania, meanwhile, suddenly reversed course this week when its pandemic restrictions ended, ending to-go booze and some expanded outdoor dining rules abruptly.

In addition to the extension of to-go alcohol in Massachusetts, provisions that made it easier for restaurants to add outdoor dining areas will continue until April 21, 2022.

Not included in the bill: the continuation of a fee cap on third-party delivery companies. Among several other non-restaurant-related matters, that remains up for further discussion in the legislature.