Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the Boston Public Health Commission is declaring a public health emergency in the City of Boston, due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. This step allows BPHC to increase the availability of staff and resources that will allow for enhanced reporting, information and resources shared among Boston’s health and medical community.
Following the declaration of a public health emergency, Mayor Walsh also shared the following updates and announced new regulations for restaurants, bars and clubs:
Effective immediately, the Licensing Board for the City of Boston is requiring all restaurants (both establishments with a common victualler license and common victualler with alcoholic beverages license), bar rooms and night clubs in the city to reduce overall capacity by 50 percent, remove tables and chairs to reflect that reduced capacity, and follow the guidelines around social distancing.
All licensed establishments will not be allowed to have lines outside, and hours across the board will be reduced to close at 11:00 p.m.
Food drive through and delivery services may continue during an establishment’s normal business hours.
If any of these new regulations are violated, the licensed establishment will be shut down for 30 days. As a reminder, Governor Baker last week issued an emergency order prohibiting most gatherings over 250 people in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19.
For any restaurant or bar room that serves food, the Board is lifting regulations to allow for take out service, which means that all restaurants and bar rooms that serve food can now provide take out service. The Board encourages the use of delivery services wherever possible. If an establishment does not currently utilize a delivery service, the City’s Office of Small Business can help support. Any establishment looking to be connected with help may contact 311, and if any business that needs operational support can contact the Inspectional Services Department.
As of today, beer gardens will not be opening until the declared public health emergency is over. All of these revised regulations included above will be in effect until the Licensing Board issues a notice that they are lifted.
The Licensing Board has been working closely with licensed establishments in South Boston regarding the influx of patrons due to the St. Patrick’s Day holiday and the ongoing public safety concerns regarding the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Based on the number of patrons in the area on Saturday, March 14 and health and safety concerns, over a dozen establishments have agreed to voluntarily close today, Sunday, March 15, 2020.
To protect Bostonians and their families from the spread of the virus, residents are reminded to practice caution: wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol; avoid shaking hands; cover your coughs and sneezes; clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces; and avoid close contact with people who are sick. If you think you might be sick, please call your doctor or 311 to be connected to the Mayor’s Health Line. Residents are also reminded to practice social distancing: keep your distance from others (six feet apart); avoid crowded places.
Residents are asked to not call 9-1-1 unless you are experiencing a medical emergency. The City and BPHC will continue to provide updated information on bphc.org and boston.gov/coronavirus.