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Licensing Board advisory on indoor dining at restaurants

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Published by:

Licensing Board

On June 19, 2020, Governor Baker announced that, based on public health metrics, Step Two of Phase II of the Commonwealth’s reopening process will begin on Monday, June 22, 2020. That means that indoor seated dining may begin on that date, pursuant to certain conditions.

As part of this announcement, the Governor reiterated previously issued guidance (the “Guidance”) regarding both indoor and outdoor seated dining by patrons. The Licensing Board for the City of Boston (the “Board”) issues this advisory (the “Advisory”) applicable to establishments holding a valid common victualler or common victualler with alcoholic beverages license (the “Licensee” or “Licensees”) to assist in the reopening process.

  1. Licensees must abide by all terms of both the Massachusetts Restaurants COVID-19 Checklist and the Massachusetts Restaurants Safety Standards issued by the Commonwealth. These documents provide mandatory standards critical to a safe reopening including social distancing, staffing, operations, cleaning, disinfecting, hygiene protocols, and other safety standards.
  2. Licensees must complete the self certification process mandated by the state prior to commencing indoor or outdoor table service if the same has not previously been completed. The required COVID-19 poster must be signed and conspicuously posted in an area visible to both patrons and employees.
  3. Licensees may commence indoor table service beginning June 22, 2020 in accordance with the Guidance and this Advisory, both of which may be amended from time to time. Only outdoor table service is permitted until June 22, 2020.
  4. Upon commencing indoor table service, Licensees must ensure that there is a minimum of six (6) feet of separation between tables and high foot traffic areas at all times and that each party consists of no more than six (6) individuals. Tables may be positioned closer only if separated by protective non-porous barriers at least six (6) feet in height installed between tables and high foot traffic areas.
  5. No Licensee may exceed the approved capacity listed on its Certificate of Inspection issued by the Inspectional Services Department. Additional guidance from the Board regarding capacity, the required Certificate of Inspection, and the required Fire Assembly Permit is forthcoming.
  6. Neither standing nor sitting at the bar area is permitted. The bar area may be repurposed to provide seated dining by patrons pursuant to the requirements herein.
  7. All patrons must be seated at tables and food service must be available.
  8. Outdoor dining by patrons may continue pursuant to all requirements herein.
  9. Licensees may operate pursuant to their existing hours of operation approved by the Board.
  10. Licensees may operate pursuant to their existing approved entertainment by the Board and the Mayor’s Office of Consumer Affairs and Licensing (“MOCAL”).
  11. Licensees that have requested a temporary extension of licensed premise on outdoor space may not utilize said space unless and until they have received written approval from the Board.
  12. Licensees granted a temporary extension of licensed premise on outdoor space by the Board must abide by the permitted closing hour on the extension of 10:00pm Sunday through Thursday (all patrons off by 10:30 p.m.) and 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday (all patrons off by 11:30 p.m.).
  13. No entertainment, whether non-live or live, is permitted on any temporary extension. The Board and MOCAL may revisit this decision in the coming weeks based on incoming public health metrics.
  14. Licensees must abide by any and all rules, regulations, advisories, orders, guidance, or laws promulgated or adopted by City, state, or federal government as the same may be amended from time to time including but not limited to the General Rules of the Board, the Commonwealth's Guidance, and the Center for Disease Control’s standards regarding social distancing.

The Advisory is issued in response to the ongoing public health crisis related to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) and will be strictly enforced by the Board and the Boston Police Department. Failure to adhere to any of the foregoing will result in disciplinary action including, but not limited to, the suspension of any license issued by the Board.

Claims of ignorance of the law, the Guidance, or the Advisory are not a defense.

Please refer to boston.gov/coronavirus for more information on COVID-19. Any questions should be directed to the Board’s Executive Secretary, Lesley Delaney Hawkins, Esq., who can be reached at (617) 635-4170 or Lesley.hawkins@boston.gov.

For the Board,

Lesley Delaney Hawkins
Lesley Delaney Hawkins, Esq.
Executive Secretary & General Counsel