State of emergency ends in Massachusetts

Coronavirus

BOSTON (WPRI) — After 462 days, the state of emergency that Gov. Charlie Baker declared on March 10, 2020, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, has ended.

The state of emergency was lifted at midnight, and that means many of the policies put in place during the pandemic are also ending.

Policies such as increased outdoor dining spaces, the ability for restaurants to serve cocktails to go, and a measure allowing public meetings to be held remotely, among others, are now set to end.

Baker filed legislation to extend many of those policies until later this year, but on Monday, state lawmakers struggled to come up with an agreement.

“I think these are things people are going to want to see continue on a go-forward basis,” Baker said.

The House is now set to take up the issue later Tuesday morning.

“We’re anxiously awaiting and hopefully they’ll get something done, and over to the governor,” Bob Luz from the Mass. Restaurant Association said. “Just like the pandemic started, there was no playbook when the pandemic started, and there’s no playbook to come out of it.”

City Hall and other city officials will also be returning to normal business hours from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For most of the past year, city government employees have been working remotely, but that changes with the state of emergency being lifted.

New Bedford libraries will also resume their normal hours, which vary by location. Libraries in the Bay State have been serving customers with curbside and online services, but now that’s changing.

“We’re going to continue to be careful. It’s just nice to get back to business and get back to helping and serving people and giving them what they want from the library which is all kinds of things,” Bellamy Schmidt from the Holyoke Public Library said.

Meanwhile, in Rhode Island, Gov. Dan McKee opted to extend the state of emergency until July 9.

He told 12 News it gives the state flexibility to decide on extending some of the pandemic-related policies addressing employment concerns and restaurant operations.

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