Emergency legislation to provide relief to East Boston restaurants forced to close their bars and dining rooms and switch to a delivery or take out operation during this COVID-19 pandemic was passed last week and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker.
Permitting Eastie establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption, like the Cunard Tavern, will now be able to sell wine and beer by take-out and delivery.
This will allow some of Eastie more popular restaurants that serve up hard to find microbrews and wine to continue providing their customers with these options as an accompaniment to a hot meal.
However, there is a catch.
The licensed restaurants must sell the beer and/or wine in the original sealed container (no draft beer or plastic lids for wine) and must be sold in the same transaction as a purchase of food.
“Restaurants can now sell take-out beer and wine for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency,” said State Rep. Adrian Madaro. “This is an important provision that will better support the restaurants that are working so hard to support us all.”
Restaurateur and owner of the Cunard Tavern near Eastie’s waterfront, Phil Frattaroli, said he was glad the state took this important step. Frattaroli and other local restaurant owners had been begging the Governor, the Mayor, State Treasurer Deb Goldberg and the Legislature to consider allowing restaurants to sell their existing beer and wine inventory along with prepared food–something New York State did a few weeks ago amid the pandemic.
Frattaroli added that being able to sell beer and wine allows small restaurants like the Cunard to make up some lost margins after being forced to close dine in services.
“Thank you for your leadership Governor, not just on this expansion and the import it will have in the survival of restaurants in our Commonwealth but for your steady hand during this crisis,” said Frattaroli. “Thanks also to the extraordinary efforts of Ways and Means Chairman Aaron Michlewitz and Senator Joe Boncore and their staffs, Rep Adrian Madaro, and everyone in the Legislature who played a role. As I look around the country, I am so grateful for the leadership of Boston Mayor Marty Walsh and Governor Charlie Baker in relaxing some licensing requirements as many restaurants switch to off-premise service. During a time when people are feeling very insecure about the availability of food, keeping professional kitchens safely feeding people makes sense. Allowing some hourly workers to continue working makes sense. We have converted to off premise service only, and taken a number of steps to ensure the safety of what we are serving.”