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Mass. restaurants could soon offer beer and wine for takeout and delivery under a new coronavirus bill

Mariyana M - stock.adobe.com

A new legislative package filed Tuesday would allow some restaurants in Massachusetts to offer beer and wine with their takeout.

The bill, filed by the Baker administration to help cities and towns mitigate the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, includes a provision that would allow restaurants that are currently permitted to sell alcohol for on-site consumption to add beer or wine in a sealed container to any takeout or delivery meal, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said at a news conference on Tuesday afternoon.

There would be some caveats: The beverages must be sold in the original sealed container, must be in the same transaction as a purchase of food, and can’t be over certain volume limitations, a statement from officials said (the exact volume limitations were not provided).


The bill, titled “An Act to Further Address Challenges Faced by Municipalities and School Districts Resulting from COVID-19,” would also allow municipalities to modify local permitting processes and extend tax deadlines, among other actions. It would also let the state modify or waive the MCAS testing requirement, allow electronic signatures for search warrants and criminal complaints, and extending the dates for the MBTA to approve a preliminary budget.

Governor Charlie Baker said the bill would help cities and towns cut through “red tape” to address the coronavirus crisis.

Baker has ordered a ban on eating on-site at restaurants, saying the eateries can operate on a takeout and delivery basis only, as residents work to adhere to “social distancing” practices to stop the spread of the contagious virus. In recent days, some customers and many restaurants have asked to be allowed to include alcohol with their takeaway orders.

Jaclyn Reiss can be reached at jaclyn.reiss@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter: @JaclynReiss