July 21st Information & Resources Update
Moratorium on Foreclosures and Evictions Extended to October 17th

The Commonwealth's existing ban on foreclosures and evictions put into place in response to COVID-19 has been extended 60 days, to October 17th.

In passing An Act Providing for a Moratorium on Evictions and Foreclosures During the COVID-19 Emergency earlier this year, the Legislature initially restricted eviction and foreclosure proceedings for 120 days after the passage of the Act, which would have been August 18th. However, the Act also included a provision that “the governor may postpone such expiration in increments of not more than 90 days” as long as the extended expiration date is no later than 45 days after the COVID-19 emergency declaration has been lifted.

To that end, Governor Baker today issued a letter to Legislative leaders exercising his authority to extend the ban for 60 days. A copy of the Governor's complete letter can be found at this link.

Governor Signs Legislation Allowing Sale of Take-Out Mixed Drinks

The Governor has signed into law S. 2812, An Act to Expand Take-out/Delivery Options in Response to COVID-19, which will enable licensed restaurants to sell mixed drinks via take-out.

The legislation carried an emergency preamble, meaning having now been signed by the Governor, it has gone into effect.

The legislation specifies that an establishment licensed to sell alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption may, during the March 10, 2020 state of emergency or until February 28, 2021, whichever is later, sell mixed drinks for off-premises consumption subject to the following conditions:

  • The mixed drink shall not be sold to a person under 21 years of age; provided, that any delivery of mixed drinks for off premises consumption shall not be made without verification that the person receiving the order has attained 21 years of age.

  • The mixed drink shall be sold in a sealed container.

  • The mixed drink shall be sold as part of the same transaction as the purchase of food; provided, however, that any order that includes mixed drinks shall be placed not later than the hour of which the establishment is licensed to sell alcohol or 12:00A.M., whichever time is earlier.

  • A customer is limited to 64 fluid ounces of mixed drinks per transaction.

  • If the mixed drink in a sealed container is to be transported by a motor vehicle, either by delivery or pick-up, the driver of a motor vehicle shall transport the mixed drink in the trunk of the motor vehicle or some other area that is not considered the passenger area as defined by law.

Definition of Sealed Container, for the purposes of this legislation: "A packaged container with a secure lid or cap designed to prevent consumption without removal of the lid or cap; provided, however, if the packaged container has a lid with sipping holes or an opening for straws said container shall be covered or affixed with an additional seal; provided, further, that said lid, cap or seal are affixed in such a way to prevent reopening without it being obvious that said lid, cap or seal was removed or broken, which may include tape or a sticking adhesive, before sale."

The full text of the legislation and bill history can be accessed online at this link (note that the text of the final legislation is not the original S. 2812, as filed, but the text of H.4856, which was substituted for the original language when the House took up the bill).
Senate Ways & Means Committee Advances Craft Brewers Legislation

The state Senate Ways & Means Committee has reported favorably on S. 2829 (previously S. 104), An Act Relative to Craft Brewers, which now advances to the full Senate for consideration.

If passed in its current form, this legislation:

  • Defines a “brewery”, for the purposes of this act, as an entity that is authorized to sell malt beverages to wholesalers in the commonwealth, and produced less than 250,000 barrels, or 3,445,000 case equivalents, of malt beverages in the previous 12-month period.

  • Allows a brewery to terminate, without good cause, the right of a licensed wholesaler to whom the brewery has made regular sales of malt beverages to distribute such malt beverages.

  • Prohibits a brewery from terminating the right to distribute of an affected wholesaler without providing at least 30 days’ written notice and full compensation.

  • Requires that upon a termination of the right to distribute, the affected wholesaler sell and the brewery or the successor wholesaler purchase the affected wholesaler's merchantable inventory and current sales and marketing materials.

  • Requires the brewery to pay the affected wholesaler, as sole and exclusive compensation for termination of the right to distribute the brands of the brewery, an amount equal to the laid-in cost of the merchantable inventory plus the laid-in cost of the current sales and marketing material plus the fair market value of the distribution rights for the brands that are being terminated by the brewery.

  • Requires a dispute as to whether an entity is a qualified brewery to be determined by the Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission.

  • Allows the affected wholesaler or the brewery to request that the amount of compensation due to the affected wholesaler to be determined by final and binding arbitration under the commercial arbitration rules of the American Arbitration Association.

The bill now advances to the full Senate for consideration; if passed, it must then be taken up by the House of Representatives, with differences between the two branches reconciled prior to the end of the current legislative session on July 31st. Click here to access the full text of the legislation as it currently stands.
OARS Collecting Information Regarding Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord River Obstacles
This summer, OARS is collecting information about obstacles in the Sudbury, Assabet, and Concord Rivers that block the flow of water and also make it difficult for boaters to navigate the waterways. All paddlers are invited to join the effort to collect this information so OARS can take action as needed.

To support the initiative:
  1. Take a photo of any blockages you find on the river.
  2. Send the photo to office@oars3rivers.org
  3. Include where and when you took the photo and if possible, the water level.

OARS is a 501(c)(3) non-profit whose mission is to protect, improve and preserve the Assabet, Sudbury, and Concord Rivers, their tributaries and watersheds.
Vacant Storefronts Program Webinar

The Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) will be holding a webinar to increase awareness of the Massachusetts Vacant Storefronts Program (MVSP). This program first became available through the Economic Development Incentive Program (EDIP) in 2019, and can be used to help municipalities in their efforts to revitalize their downtowns and commercial areas.
Municipalities may apply to the Economic Assistance Coordinating Council (EACC) to designate an area as a Certified Vacant Storefront District. After the district is certified, businesses or individuals may apply to the EACC for refundable EDIP tax credits for leasing and occupying a vacant storefront in that district, subject to a commitment of local matching funds.

The webinar will take place on Thursday, July 30th, at 10:00 AM.

Click here to register via Eventbrite. Webinar dial-in information will be provided in a confirmation email upon completing registration.
Regional Transit Authorities Seeking Rider & Community Feedback

Our Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs) are currently updating their Regional Transit Plans, and seeking feedback from riders and community members within their service areas. Community feedback is essential for successful RTA services.

Please take a moment to complete the appropriate RTA survey for your region below; click the hyperlink over each RTA to access their respective survey.

Biweekly MetroWest Employer Town Hall Series

Area employers are invited to join the 495/MetroWest Partnership and the MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board for our continuing discussions, occurring every other week, surrounding critical issues business are facing. We will answer questions about the various resources that are available to companies and their workers during these difficult times.

These discussions are open to any interested party, and are held every other Wednesday at 1:00 PM via Zoom. The next session will be held on July 22nd; click here to sign up!

  • Jason Palitsch, Executive Director, the 495/Metro West Partnership
  • Greg Bunn, Executive Director, MassHire Metro South/West Workforce Board
As always, please do not hesitate to reach out if the Partnership can be of any assistance to you. You may reach me directly via email at jason@495partnership.org .

Jason Palitsch
Executive Director
The 495/MetroWest Partnership