Pandemic Policy Extensions Pass In State Senate, Awaiting Final Approval

Mass State House wbz 16:9

Photo: Mario Jarjour/WBZ NewsRadio

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) -- Legislation has passed in the State Senate to keep several pandemic-era policies in place after the state of emergency in Massachusetts ends on Tuesday.

If signed into law, the bill (S 2467) would extend the policy that allows public bodies to host meetings remotely or by virtual means instead of in person.

It would also extend opportunities for mail-in voting in municipal and state elections, and preserve protections for patients against unexpected healthcare costs incurred from a Covid-19 infection.

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The bill would additionally allow cities and towns to approve special permits for outdoor dining until April of 2022 and allow restaurants to sell "to-go" beverages and cocktails until March of 2022.

Despite approving some dining-related measures, the Senate rejected an amendment proposed by State Senator Diana DiZoglio to extend a cap on fees for restaurants using third-party food delivery services like GrubHub or DoorDash.

The bill is now facing a short window to gain approval by both the Massachusetts House and Governor Charlie Baker before June 15 when the state of emergency expires.

Written by Rachel Armany

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