BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — The Massachusetts Restaurant Association wants outdoor dining and takeout alcoholic beverages to stay and is urging restaurant owners to write letters to lawmakers to extend the state authorization beyond next month's deadline.
State authorization for outdoor dining ends on March 31.
If the outdoor dining deadline is not extended, restaurants will also need to receive approval from the state in order to serve beer, wine, and mixed drinks outdoors with takeout and delivery food.
"One of those authorizations is the ability to serve alcohol off of your license premises, on a sidewalk or in an alleyway or out into the street," Steve Clark, MRA President and Chief Executive Officer, told WBZ's Kim Tunnicliffe. "That authorization expires April 1st."
The Massachusetts Restaurant Association has launched a campaign urging restaurants to write letters to state lawmakers asking them to push the deadline back. They are hoping to get the deadline extended by a year, making it end on March 31, 2024.
"Please email your legislators and let them know that the outdoor dining season is fast approaching, and we need their assistance to continue these practices before these authorizations expire," the MRA said on their website alongside a pre-written email to send to lawmakers.
Denise Herrera, vice president of culinary for Burtons Grill and Red Heat Tavern, said outdoor dining is good for restaurants' business as they start to bounce back after the pandemic.
"If this expires at the end of March, we're just coming into outdoor patio space so it's a real disadvantage to these operators," Herrera said.