By Juli McDonald

BOSTON (CBS) – After a dormant spring, retailers hope the tax free weekend will provide a much needed boost.

“If people come in they’ll find something they want and buy it and be happy about it,” said Mike Buglio, owner of Arlington’s Book Rack – now in its 45th year of business. “But you’ve got to get them out of the house because it’s so hard these days.”

For many small businesses, that was a challenge even before Covid-19 hit. Now they’re hoping a busy sales tax holiday weekend will be the jump start they desperately need.

Mike Buglio, owner of Arlington’s Book Rack (WBZ-TV)

“Spring was really tough. The uncertainty for everybody was just off the charts,” said Buglio.

The conditional Saturday/Sunday break from Massachusetts’ 6.25% sales tax now marks the start of a statewide campaign through the end of the year.

“We need to remind them to shop like jobs depend on it, because frankly they do,” said Retailers Association of MA President Jon Hurst.

Now, there are some businesses that have benefited from people stuck at home spending time together. Bike shops have seen huge demand.

“They always focus on the kids first and then they’re like wait a second, we can’t keep up. The parents will end up getting bikes as well,” said Hannah Berwaldt at Norwood’s Landry’s Bicycles.

This newly launched #MyLocalMA campaign encourages consumers to shop safely, and spend their money right here.

“I’m cautiously optimistic. If we live in this zone we’re in good shape I think. It’s all about people making that conscious decision to come or call or pick up outside or whatever, locally,” Buglio added.

There are a number of things that don’t qualify for the exemption this weekend. For example, consumers shouldn’t be surprised to see they’re still being charged a sales tax when going out to eat. Buying a car or boat will also still be taxed no matter how much it costs. And taxes are still in place for alcohol and marijuana purchases in Massachusetts.

Below is the full list of retail items that do not qualify for exemptions. You can get more info about the state sales tax holiday at

• Meals
• Motor vehicles
• Motorboats
• Telecommunications services
• Gas
• Steam
• Electricity
• Tobacco products
• Marijuana or marijuana products
• Alcoholic beverages, and
• Any single item whose price is more than $2,500.

Juli McDonald


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