Lawmakers provide relief to residents, restaurants
by Christian M. Wade, Statehouse Reporter, Eagle Tribune
Restaurants will be allowed to sell take-out beer and wine, residents won't have municipal services shut off for not being able to pay bills, and communities will be allowed to postpone town meetings under a relief package approved late Thursday by lawmakers in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The measure, which is awaiting Gov. Charlie Baker's approval, moves the state's April 15 tax deadline to July 15, giving businesses and individuals more time to file their returns. The bill also prevents cities and towns from penalizing residents who can't afford to pay their bills during the state of emergency. Restaurants, which are currently restricted to takeout service, will be allowed to sell wine and beer with food takeout and delivery, if they are already licensed to sell alcohol. The measure also provides relief to towns by allowing town moderators, with approval from local selectmen, to postpone town meetings for up to 30 days. Town meetings will be allowed to convene beyond June 30, which is currently the deadline under state law. Senate President Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, said the sweeping legislation provides needed relief to taxpayers, municipalities and small business owners.