State Legislature Votes to Extend Outdoor Dining and Cocktails-To-Go Bill: Gov. Baker Signs Bill

Last year groups of bar and restaurant owners emerged as vocal proponents of the state legislature’s ‘to-go cocktail’ bill. During the height of the pandemic owners became frustrated by the fact that liquor store businesses were booming but expensive liquor inventory was collecting dust on the shelves of bars and restaurants in Mission Hill. Many establishments were forced to close due to the COVID-19 pandemic and later reopened with limited capacity and outdoor seating but couldn’t sell any liquor at a profitable volume.

Luckily, the state legislature provided relief with the cocktail-to-go bill but that was set to expire this month after Gov. Charlie Baker lifted the state emergency order that was given back in March 2020.

In May, the state legislature moved to give restaurants and bars in Mission Hill the tools to achieve financial recovery from the pandemic.

 The House and the Senate found supporting the local restaurant industry’s successful recovery needed to be of the highest priority–as it was among the hardest hit by economic challenges associated with the state of emergency caused by the pandemic.

 The state legislature took the necessary steps to extend the outdoor dining and cocktails-to-go bill that was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker last month. 

 The bill will allow restaurants to serve patrons who prefer dining to-go while making the streetscape in neighborhoods like Mission Hill more vibrant.

 During the height of the pandemic local restaurant and bar owners lobbied the state legislature for permission to start moving inventory of expensive liquor that had been sitting on shelves since the pandemic began.

The result was the cocktail-to-go bill that was tied to outdoor dining programs across the city and state.

 The bill let bars and restaurants sell to-go cocktails with takeout only or delivery food orders. Customers of bars and restaurants in Mission Hill will be able to continue to order two cocktails per entree. However, the total volume of liquor being sold can not exceed 64 ounces.

All cocktails must be sold in a sealed container, and the volume of alcohol-to-mixer must be the same as for on-premises consumption.

Numerous Mission Hill restaurants took advantage of the cocktail-to-go and the City of Boston’s outdoor dining program.

Restaurants that dot the neighborhood received a special permit from the city that allowed them to set up outdoor patios on roadways and sidewalks throughout the neighborhood. That coupled with the cocktail-to-go legislation helped restaurants increase capacity, move inventory and increase profits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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