Some Massachusetts bars fear collapse if they can’t reopen soon

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ALLSTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Some bars in Massachusetts won’t reopen until much later than previously thought.

Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration is saying if bars don’t provide food service, they are more in line with nightclubs — which open in Phase 4.

When the state’s reopening plan was unveiled, bars were listed to reopen under Phase 3. Now, it’s unclear when the change was made to move them into part of Phase 4.

A Housing and Economic Development spokesman said the list of businesses and activities is subject to revision based on the latest public health data and the issuance of sector-specific guidelines. As of Wednesday morning, a downloadable copy of the reopening plan on the state’s website still lists bars under Phase 3. A FAQ page on the same website categorizes bars under Phase 4.

Phase 4 is what the Bay State has determined is the point in which there’s a development of vaccines or treatments for COVID-19 enable resumption of “new normal.”

Reopening: Here’s what is open in Rhode Island and Massachusetts »

Along with outdoor dining for restaurants, wineries, beer gardens and distilleries were allowed to open with restrictions on Monday, provided they had seated food service. Bars with licenses to serve food could also open.

The state’s guidance prohibits seating at the bar, though it allows restaurants to reconfigure tables to be six-feet apart, with no more than six people to a table.

Model Cafe is a family run business of nearly 90 years and owner Bill Anthony fears the worst if he can’t reopen soon.

“At least if we had the chance to come back with half our capacity, we would be able to survive, but with no income at all, it’s going to be very, very hard,” Anthony said.

The Massachusetts Restaurant Association is lobbying the governor to move bars and nightclubs back into Phase 3.

In the meantime, the association is recommending bars apply for a license and permit that enables them to serve food.

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