Rep. Robertson, State Legislature Approve Extension Of Outdoor Dining For Restaurants, Remote Participation At Government Meetings

Below is a press release from State Rep. Dave Robertson’s Office:

BOSTON, MA — Addressing the concerns of many constituents, municipalities, and businesses throughout the Commonwealth, Representative Robertson and his colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature passed legislation that will extend many business and government pandemic-related policies into 2022. With the expiration of the COVID-19 state of emergency on Tuesday, June 15th, many businesses and constituents were left in limbo, wondering how the Commonwealth would transition back to a sense of normalcy. The extension of some widely-supported policies implemented during the state of emergency allows for businesses and communities to continue operating with increased flexibility, and received broad testimony in support prior.

One of the most popular policy extensions was the increased flexibility of outdoor dining and to-go beverages from local restaurants. With local eateries relying on outdoor expansion to maintain social distance, outdoor dining became a trend that saw many consumers wishing to continue doing so. This, combined with safety precautions allowing for safe alcoholic drink deliveries, allowed restaurants and drink distributors to continue meeting demand and drive business.

Additionally, the Commonwealth extended remote access permissions for local government meetings until April 1st, 2022. Allowing individuals to call-in by phone or internet increased the ease of participation, especially with those with young-children or non-standard work hours. In addition, advocacy groups for those who are home-bound, or face other physical disabilities also called for the extension of the options.

“One thing I have noticed with the pandemic related orders on public access, is new names getting involved in community issues that otherwise were just busy with life,” said Representative Robertson. “If you’re trying to balance your kids schedule and work sometimes you just have to rely on your neighbors to attend a meeting to get your point across about a neighborhood issue. If you can call in it is easy, and I really would like to see this option kept for the general public as it lets everyone weigh in quickly while managing their busy lives.”

Several other popular COVID-19 emergency policies were extended, including remote access to notary services and the continued expanded approval of who can administer COVID-19 vaccines. For questions about the approved portions of policies Representative Robertson’s office is available by phone or email with the following contact information, 617-722-2210 ext. 4 or David.Robertson@mahouse.gov.

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