By Bob Katzen

The Senate 4-35, rejected an amendment that would allow bars and pubs and any other establishments that don’t serve food to reopen during the pandemic under the same timetable as restaurants that do serve food.

Under current law, restaurants can offer takeout and delivery in phase 1, outdoor seating in phase 2 – step 1 and indoor seating in step 2 of phase 2. Bars and pubs and other non-food establishments are designated as phase 4 businesses and cannot reopen until there is a treatment or vaccine for COVID-19.

“We have a duty to examine the administration’s executive orders for fairness and rationality and how these orders are playing out in our districts,” said amendment sponsor Sen. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen). “How are seated patrons in a restaurant confined with socially distanced seating, capacity and cleaning requirements safer when removing their masks to ingest food and wine or beer, than seated patrons in a pub complying with requirements and removing masks to ingest just a glass of wine or beer? I have yet to receive a valid explanation for this. We need to acknowledge this order is making a morality judgment and not one based on public health.”

“I voted against this amendment to preserve the ability for our local boards of health to keep people safe and ensure current public health protocols and standards—as issued by the governor to provide owners, operators, workers, and patrons of restaurants with instructions to help protect the public against the spread of COVID-19—are not compromised,” said Senate Ways and Means chair Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport).

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