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Indoor Restaurants To Re-Open Monday, June 22 – But Some Still Questioning Massachusetts Governor’s Pace

June 19, 2020

Indoor dining at restaurants in Massachusetts can start Monday, June 22, Governor Charlie Baker said.

There is no state limit on seating capacity, but tables must be kept at least 6 feet apart and no seating will be allowed at the bar.

Baker said hospitalizations for coronavirus in Massachusetts are down 72 percent since mid-April.

“Re-opening Massachusetts is working. Businesses are coming back. People are regaining that sense of purpose that was lost,” Baker said during a coronavirus press conference Friday, June 19. “I know it can’t happen fast enough, but people in Massachusetts are proving that we can re-open and continue our fight against the virus when we all do our part.”

Massachusetts is the last state in New England to prohibit indoor dining at restaurants. The most recent to re-open was Maine, on Wednesday, June 17.

State officials are calling the new rules next week Step 2 of Phase Two of the re-opening.

Also starting Monday, June 22, offices will be authorized to increase their capacity from 25 percent to 50 percent. Nail salons will be allowed to re-open, and retailers may open fitting rooms by appointment only, Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito said Friday.

While the governor has maintained that his policies are working, critics say he has wreaked havoc on the economy unnecessarily and continues to do so.

“Despite today’s positive announcement from the Governor, Massachusetts is becoming well known for being far behind the curve compared to the rest of New England. If you are a small business owner in Massachusetts, you have to wait the longest to re-open. That’s the message business owners, their workers, and customers constantly hear from the Governor and today’s announcement reaffirmed this,” said Paul Craney, spokesman for Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance, a conservative watchdog on Beacon Hill.

It’s not clear when certain other businesses will be allowed to re-open. Craney criticized Baker for the zigzag quality of re-openings.

“The Governor needs to be clear and consistent, to maintain the public’s confidence. The public needs more information on Phase 3 so businesses like gyms, indoor recreation, and theaters can plan and know what to expect. The introduction of additional surprise sub-phases and shifting businesses to phase 4 should not continue going forward,” Craney said.



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