BOSTON (CBS) — Gov. Charlie Baker said starting Tuesday, the state will be cracking down on “bars masquerading as restaurants” by allowing police to enforce coronavirus safety standards.

Safety standards were updated on Friday to clarify that alcoholic beverages can only be served for on-site consumption if accompanied by food prepared on-site. “Potato chips, pretzels, and other pre-packaged or manufactured foods do not constitute food ‘prepared on-site.’” the new restaurant rules state.

Attempts to reopen by serving “pretzels and potato chips” as food “is clearly not consistent with the spirit or the intent of what we put in place when we authorized outdoor dining and indoor dining,” said Baker.

Bars are not set to open until Phase 4 in Massachusetts, which is when there is a coronavirus vaccine.

“Bars are closed in Massachusetts. Bars masquerading as restaurants also need to be closed. Previously, health and inspection officials have been tasked with enforcing many of these COVID orders, today I’m authorizing all state and local police officers to enforce these orders, and event hosts who violate these orders will be subject to fine,” Baker said.

The governor also announced the creation of a COVID Enforcement and Intervention Team to help slow the spread by increasing regulation enforcement, including on gatherings.

“We have had complaints to some of our various hotlines where people have said, these people had a big party, I called the locals, nobody did anything. Well, part of the reason the locals didn’t do anything was because they didn’t have any authority to do anything. One of the things we’re trying to do here is to give local communities, local law enforcement, and the state police, the ability to actually issue a fine,” Baker said.
Comments (4)
  1. Dave says:

    Can someone explain to me (in really small words, because I must be stupid) how an establishment serving or not serving food on the premises, regardless of where it’s prepared, affects at all whether people occupying that establishment catch COVID-19?

    1. Dramer says:

      I’ll bite. The data have repeatedly shown bars have been major sources of spread of the virus. A quick google search will reveal several places that brought cases down ended up in a resurgence with tracing finding source being bars and nightclubs. If you think about it, it make sense that being drunk won’t be very conductive to keep good practices that helps avoid giving/catching COVID.

      Okay, so that answers why bars are closed. What does food have to do anything with that? Well, if you think about it, the line between bars and restaurant are actually pretty blurry. Both places serves alcohol. But generally there is a still a difference. You can’t equate wine at Giacomo’s is the same as shots at Royale. But it’s still hard to define unless the line is just alcohol. You can still get pretty sloshed at a restaurant. Well the line the state choose is serving food. Stops places like Royale, but keep places like Giacomo’s open.

      But places in between the two ends, like the bar that serves pretzels. Well, it’s still a-place-to get-really-drunk first, eating food second. And cases are starting to rise, some kind of countermeasure if you view keep cases down as important.

  2. Suq Madiq says:

    HONK HONK

  3. Safety First says:

    Stay home and stay safe . Period.

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