State Legislature Votes to Extend Outdoor Dining and Cocktails-To-Go Bill

Local restaurants and small businesses in Beacon Hill and across the city need the tools to achieve financial recovery from the pandemic. Supporting the local restaurant industry’s successful recovery is extremely important, as it was among the hardest hit by economic challenges associated with the state of emergency caused by the pandemic. On Tuesday, the state legislature took the necessary steps to extend the outdoor dining and cocktails-to-go bill that was signed by Gov. Charlie Baker last summer.

These options allow restaurants to serve patrons who prefer dining outdoors while making the streetscape in neighborhoods like Beacon Hill more vibrant. During the height of the pandemic local restaurant and bar owners lobbied the state legislature for permission to start  moving inventory of expensive liquor that had been sitting on shelves since the pandemic began. The result was the cocktail-to-go bill that was tied to outdoor dining programs across the city and state.

The bill let bars and restaurants sell to-go cocktails with takeout only or delivery food orders. However, the bill was set to expire after Gov. Baker lifted the state emergency order that was given back in March 2020. If the legislature once again gets Baker’s blessing, customers of bars and restaurants in Beacon Hill will be able to continue to order two cocktails per entree. However, the total volume of liquor being sold can not exceed 64 ounces. All cocktails must be sold in a sealed container, and the volume of alcohol-to-mixer must be the same as for on-premises consumption.

Numerous Beacon Hill restaurants took advantage of the cocktail-to-go and the City of Boston’s outdoor dining program. Restaurants that dott Charles Street received a special permit from the city that allowed them to set up outdoor patios on roadways and sidewalks throughout the neighborhood. That coupled with the cocktail-to-go legislation helped restaurants increase capacity, move inventory and increase profits during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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