Coronavirus Update 5.29.20
Coronavirus update 5/29/20

State Announces Reopening Guidance and Checklists for Food and Beverage Industry
The Administration today issued workplace safety standards for restaurants and lodging. These workplace specific safety standards are organized around four distinct categories covering Social Distancing, Hygiene Protocols, Staffing and Operations and Cleaning and Disinfecting.
Outdoor dining will begin at the start of Phase II. Phase II is expected to be announced after the review of the public health data collected between June 1 and June 6. Indoor dining will begin later within Phase II, subject to public health data. When indoor seating is permitted, use of outdoor space will be encouraged for all restaurants.

  • Social distancing guidance includes spacing tables six feet apart with a maximum party size of six people. 
  • Tables may be positioned closer if separated by protective / non-porous barriers (e.g., structural walls or plexi-glass dividers) not less than 6 feet high installed between tables and high foot traffic areas
  • The use of bars, except for spaced table seating, will not be permitted. 
  • Utensils and menus should be kept clean through single use or with strict sanitation guidelines 
  • Reservations or call ahead seating is recommended and contactless payment, mobile ordering or text on arrival for seating is also encouraged.
Additionally, there are a number of cleaning and disinfecting guidelines, in accordance with CDC guidance. This includes closing an establishment temporarily if there is a case of COVID-19 in an establishment.

The MRA is developing best practice checklists for different segments of the re-open process. Those will be available in the coming days.

The Governor also announced that he is working with the Legislature to streamline the ABCC process to allow for expanded outdoor dining opportunities. Local license authorities should assume that this legislation will be passed and should work with operators ASAP to get them approved.

Hotels, motels and other lodging businesses will be allowed to expand their operations in Phase II. Lodging safety standards apply to all forms of lodging including hotels, motels, inns, bed and breakfasts, short term residential rentals including Airbnb and VRBO.
  • Event spaces, like ballrooms and meeting rooms, will remain closed. 
  • On-site restaurants, pools, gyms, spas, golf courses and other amenities at lodging sites may operate only as these categories are authorized to operate in accordance with the phased re-opening plan. 
  • Lodging operators also must inform guests of the Commonwealth’s policy urging travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days when arriving from out-of-state.

Today we released the following statement:

"We are appreciative to have the beginning of our re-opening process and we certainly understand the need for continued good data. Regulations, standards and proposed next steps are welcomed, but what restaurateurs in the State of Massachusetts still need is a firm opening date. The Massachusetts food and beverage industry is the second largest private employer and has been closed for more than 75 days. Restaurateurs need time to work with suppliers to restock perishable inventory, employees need to be notified about returning to work and there needs to be sufficient time to conduct other due diligence to ensure restaurants can open effectively.”  

Massachusetts Restaurant Association
160 East Main Street, Suite 2, Westborough, MA 01581
Phone: (508) 303-9905