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Joint statement from Mayor and Licensing Board Chairwoman on restaurants and bars

The statement below from Mayor Martin J. Walsh and Licensing Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce focuses on recent coronavirus-related developments related to bars and restaurants in Boston.

The health and safety of each and every Boston resident is our first priority. At this point, we are undoubtedly experiencing a public health emergency in the City of Boston, and it is clear that we need to activate every tool at our disposal.

Governor Baker issued an emergency order limiting gatherings to 25 individuals and prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants, beginning on March 17 and effective through April 5. The Governor's order will be in effect in Boston beginning March 17. 

Public safety is of the utmost importance to the Board and we appreciate the willingness of the City’s restaurants and bars to work with the Board as we face this unprecedented public health crisis. The Board recognizes the severe strain this places on our establishments and their employees and is dedicated to working with our licensees as we move forward. 

On background

On Monday, March 16, restaurants in the City of Boston will be permitted to stay open until 11 p.m. All restaurants (both establishments with a common victualler license and common victualler with alcoholic beverages license), bar rooms and night clubs in the city will be required to reduce overall capacity by 50 percent, remove tables and chairs to reflect that reduced capacity, and follow the guidelines around social distancing. All licensed establishments will not be allowed to have lines outside. If any of these regulations are violated, the licensed establishment will be shut down for 30 days. These requirements will be in effect on Monday, March 16 only. Governor Baker’s superseding emergency order prohibiting on-premises consumption of food or drink at bars and restaurants will begin on Tuesday, March 17. 

Food drive through and delivery services may continue during an establishment's normal business hours. For any restaurant or bar room that serves food, the Licensing Board is lifting regulations to allow for take out service, which means that all restaurants and bar rooms that serve food can now provide take out service. 

The Board encourages the use of delivery services wherever possible. If an establishment does not currently utilize a delivery service, the City's Office of Small Business can help support. Any establishment looking to be connected with help may contact 311, and if any business that needs operational support can contact the Inspectional Services Department. 

If restaurants would like to donate food or assist residents, they are encouraged to reach out to the Mayor’s Office of Food Access. 

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