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Massachusetts Restaurants Send Letter To Baker Asking To Partially Reopen May 19

BOSTON (CBS) – Burro Bar owner Marty Bloom says Massachusetts' restaurants and bars are some of the most regulated and sanitary businesses in the state.

"We clean like crazy anyway; Clorox and cleaning our tables and sanitation is part of what we do every day," said restaurant owner Marty Bloom.

The South End restaurant owner and more than 100 other owners and managers sent a letter to Governor Charlie Baker asking to reopen Tuesday, May 19.

The letter, sent to Baker Tuesday, also mentions plans to resume full operations in June.

They're proposing a 30-day trial period, saying, "Hard-working industry employees have been denied the right to make a living, and many will lose their job permanently. To create a safe, legal framework to reopen, we deserve a seat at the table, guidelines and a timetable, now."

"There is a lot of people at stake there is 300,000 people working in the restaurant business in Massachusetts," Bloom said.

Baker said businesses who fall into Phase 1 of the state's coronavirus reopening plan will likely be able to reopen Monday, May 18. However, the governor has not clarified which businesses will be included in the first phase.

The local restaurants came up with their own plan to reopen next week and they say it will be safe. The group is promising to increase cleanings, take employee temperatures, eliminate inside waiting areas, reconfigure dining areas, bars and patios to maintain social distancing and post videos and pictures on social media showing that they're meeting safety standards.

The letter said, in part, "We can operate safer than a Walmart, Target, Home Depot, or a supermarket, which host many more customers per day, are not usually as clean, and six feet distance is close to impossible. We're one of the cleanest, most regulated, industries."

Tuscan Kitchen owner Joe Faro says having a timeline will give him time to map plans with his employees and vendors.

"We want to be able to survive this and we want to be able to come out the other end strong and provide the quality and service that we've always been able to provide," said owner Joe Faro of Tuscan Brands.

The Baker Administration sent WBZ News this statement regarding the restaurant owner's letter.

"The Reopening Advisory Board continues to meet with a variety of business groups and community coalitions, and will make specific recommendations to the Governor in accordance with public health guidelines," according to a HED spokesperson

In the letter, the group said more than 150,000 hospitality workers have been laid off and if they can't reopen soon, 60,000 jobs may never return.

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