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Baker proposes allowing beer, wine with takeout orders


BOSTON (WPRI) — Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday he’s filed new legislation with hopes of providing relief to businesses and government agencies impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Baker said the bill would allow restaurants with liquor licenses to include beer and wine with takeout and delivery orders as long as they’re in the original sealed container, sold in the same transaction as food and “not over certain volume limitations.” Rhode Island has authorized a similar policy.

The bill would also allow municipalities to extend tax deadlines and waive late-payment penalties for fourth-quarter tax bills.

In addition, the Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education would be able to modify or waive the MCAS testing requirement for high school graduation, Baker said, while school districts could suspend the required vote on their upcoming budgets.

Baker also announced Tuesday that the state has set up a text-based notification system to keep residents up-to-date on the latest coronavirus information and resources.

Residents can sign up by texting COVIDMA to 888-777.

“Throughout this outbreak, we have consistently reminded our residents to get their information from trusted sources. Today we’re making that easier,” Baker said. “With the addition of this new communication tool, we’re making it easier for everyone to stay informed about state actions and important announcements related to COVID-19.”

On Monday, Baker ordered all non-essential businesses to close for two weeks, beginning Tuesday at noon.

As of Monday afternoon, the state has had 777 COVID-19 cases including nine deaths. Hundreds of other people are currently in self-quarantine.

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