Baker Signs Late Legislation Extending Certain Pandemic-Related Measures Through Next Spring

Issa Zefta, left, and Michael Middleton of Maria’s Family Restaurant prepared an alley space for outdoor dining during the pandemic. (WHAV News photograph.)

Remote public meetings, to-go cocktail sales, eviction protections and other pandemic-related measures will remain in force through next April and May after Gov. Charlie Baker signed the Senate- and House-approved measures into law yesterday.

Senate President Karen Spilka thanked Baker by tweet for signing the legislation about 13 hours after it passed, but not before Baker’s state of emergency expired.

House and Senate lawmakers say they plan to keep negotiating on some of the COVID-19 policy measures. The bill they passed Tuesday night, which represents areas of common ground between the two branches, would extend the eviction protections and permission for virtual public meetings through April 1, next year, and keep special permits for expanded outdoor dining in place through that same date. It also allows restaurants to sell beer, wine and cocktails to-go until May 1, and temporarily extends the authorization for representative town meetings, notary services and reverse-mortgage loan counseling to occur remotely.

Sen. Diana DiZoglio thanked her colleagues earlier for the extensions, but had lobbied to make the to-go provisions permanent.

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