WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) --New developments out of the State House, lawmakers have agreed on a bill that would extend a number of emergency measures put in place during the pandemic.
In a joint statement, leaders in the legislature said the partial legislation addresses issues common in both the Senate and House bills.
This new bill would temporarily extend policies involving municipal meetings, evictions, health care, child care, and provisions available to restaurants such as outdoor dining and cocktails to go.
The bill is now sent to Governor Charlie Baker's desk for his signature.
While that bill makes its way through the state system, many local communities are working to make one pandemic provision permanent for their restaurants.
Some changes went into effect Tuesday, like the end of to-go cocktails. But West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt said his town is working to make sure outdoor dining is never taken away.
“People love to eat in the outdoors just like Europe, you know,” Calabrese Market and Deli Owner Tony Calabrese said.
The State of Emergency across Massachusetts is now officially over and with that changes are already being seen in local restaurants.
As of Tuesday to go cocktails will no longer be for sale, a feature implemented by the State of Emergency.
Towns and cities will have 60 days to erase other changes they put into place to help restaurants during the pandemic for many, this includes makeshift outdoor dining.
“A lot of restaurants experimented with it, and they really enjoyed it, and patrons enjoyed it as well,” Reichelt said.
Baker is waiting to sign legislation that would extend some of the measures that were issued by the state during the pandemic but in the town of West Springfield, local leaders are working on their own legislation to make sure outdoor dining is here to stay.
”For a long time, myself and others locally pushed to have outdoor dining in West Springfield. We are working with the council to get the ordinate pass to make sure even past August 15 it will still be able to happen in town,” Reichelt said.
Over at Bnapoli Italian Restaurant, an outdoor dining patio extends into the street. The area was created during the pandemic and owner Jerry Moccia said it's been a hit with customers.
“I think they love the outside dining just being outside with good weather the guests love it,” Moccia said.
Down the street at Calabrese Market and Deli, Calabrese is seeing a similar trend. He said the outdoor area doubles his seating, and with the tables permanently in place, the future seems brighter.
“Anything to promote small business you can utilize a big sidewalk like this it’s packed during lunch out here,” Calabrese explained.
Legislation is expected in the next few days that may put some of the pandemic measures into law. Meanwhile, in West Springfield, an outdoor dining ordinance is already in the works.