On August 7, 2020 the Governor announced new regulations regarding the serving of alcohol for on-premise consumption that went into affect on Tuesday, August 11. You can read more about it here. This didn’t give us a lot of time to rework what we were doing, and were not able to find a licensed food vendor quickly enough to open back up on Wednesday and Thursday. But we hope we have it all sorted out now, at least for the time being.
Here is what you need to know about the new regulations.
TL;DR, now in order for us to serve alcohol, food that is made on premise, must be ordered at the same time.
Does a bag of chips or a soft pretzel count? Nope, the regulation is very specific that the food must be prepared on site. So a bag of chips = no, chips fried to order = yes. And even though we heat and season our soft pretzels, the Framingham Health Department said that since we don’t make the pretzels ourselves, this wouldn’t qualify.
We know what you’re thinking, many vendors use frozen french fries or chicken nuggets, so how is that any different? It’s best not to think about it too much or it will hurt your head. We have a great relationship with the good people at the Framingham Health Department and don’t want to try to find loopholes that would jeopardize that relationship in any way. They really want us working with licensed food vendors and we are more than happy to comply with that. Food safety is still an issue during this pandemic and we respect their wishes.
Is outside food still allowed? Yes, you are still welcome to bring your own food in. However, that will not qualify for us to serve you alcohol. You will still have to order food that is made on site.
How much food do I need to order? Again, the regulation isn’t clear on this, but it needs to be a serving per person. So a basket of fries per person would be enough. One basket of fries for a table of six would not be enough. In general, we hope this will be pretty obvious. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have with the menu.
What’s the purpose of this? How does ordering food make you more safe from COVID? We’re going to quote Katie Stinchon, the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Brewers Guild, as we think she put it best.
Drinking in public is not seen as “essential” – the state wants people to drink at home. It’s the reason bars are locked indefinitely into phase four. When advocating on behalf of the state’s breweries to be able to open in phase two, we were given the same regulations as restaurants.
Food does not protect your guests from contracting COVID. The state believes that requiring food does the following things:
- It keeps people in their seat
- If you are eating while drinking, you are drinking less, and therefore are more likely to make good decisions like wearing your mask and practicing social distancing
What if we aren’t hungry? Nothing in the regulation says that you have to eat the food (but you will want to because our food vendors are amazing), just that you purchase it in order to be served alcohol. Yeah, it’s a waste of food, but this is the hand we have been dealt.
We know this is a lot to take in. But hopefully if we all do our part, we can help to reduce community spread of this coronavirus and get back to doing business as usual sooner than later. We thank you for your patience and understanding.