Governor Baker has signed a bill restoring popular pandemic-era policies such as eviction protections, remote public meetings, and outdoor dining linked to the state’s emergency declaration that expired on Tuesday at midnight.
Baker signed the bill on Wednesdayafter state lawmakers struck a deal late Tuesday to restore the lapsed authorization.
Here’s a look at what the 14-page bill does, and what we know so far about how long the restored measures will stay in place.
Outdoor dining and to-go cocktails
Restaurants are permitted to sell cocktails, wine, and beer to-go through May 1, 2022. Under the bill’s revised language, takeout and delivery drinks must be sold at the same prices as those consumed on-site.
Special permits for expanding outdoor dining, which would otherwise expire in 60 days, would be valid until April 1, 2022.
Remote public meetings
The bill allows remote public meetings until April 1, 2022. This includes remote permissions for representative town meetings, nonprofit member meetings, notary services, and reverse-mortgage loan counseling, according to the State House News Service.
The bill protects struggling renters from eviction until the federal CDC eviction moratorium is lifted, which right now is through the end of June. The bill also requires landlords delivering notices to quit to include information on rental assistance, applicable trial court rules, and the following language “prominently” displayed:
“This notice to quit is not an eviction. You do not need to immediately leave your unit. You are entitled to a legal proceeding in which you can defend against the eviction. Only a court order can force you to leave your unit.”
Administering COVID-19 vaccines and tests
Medical assistants, podiatrists, phlebotomists, and certain military personnel are be able to continue to administer COVID-19 vaccines under the new bill.
Health clinics are also able to continue using space on or adjacent to its premises for COVID-19 testing. Clinics must adhere to guidelines and receive any necessary local approvals required for the temporary structures.
The bill also include flexibilities for assisted living residences, for nursing students graduating from a registered nursing program, and for pharmacists or pharmacy interns licensed by the board of registration in pharmacy.
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported the date until which towns and other entities can hold remote public meetings.