State leaders pushing to allow restaurants to sell your favorite alcoholic drinks with takeout orders

NORWELL, Mass. — A margarita in a doggy bag? A martini to-go?

Soon Massachusetts residents could be able to purchase their favorite alcoholic beverages from local bars and restaurants in a move to help struggling businesses stay open.

In efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19, Governor Baker issued an order to close down all restaurants, bars and pubs in the state for dine-in, limiting public gatherings to 25 people or less.

Since being forced to shutdown on Sunday with the exception for delivery and takeout, restaurants and bars in the city grew worrisome over how they would be able to make ends meet.

Brian Houlihan, owner of The Tinker’s Son in Norwell, says the takeout-only business is tough.

“We have 200 families depending on me and it’s not good times," said Houlihan.

Forced to close down the day before St. Patrick’s Day, one of the most profitable days in the spring season for many bars in the state, many businesses say that, despite still being operational, they rely a lot on dine-in patrons.

“Liquor beer and wine sales make up between 30% and 40% of their revenue depending on the season,” said Representative Diana DiZoglio (D) Methuen.

DiZoglio is one of several local lawmakers asking Governor Baker to follow suit of governors in four other states, including New York and New Hampshire and allow businesses with a liquor license to continue selling alcohol.

“The way it has happened is that governors have done this by Executive Order using their emergency powers,” said DiZoglio.

Local chambers of commerce from DiZoglio’s district have also signed a letter of support, but so far they have not heard a response from Baker’s office.

Houlihan, who owns four other restaurants in the South Shore, say’s he’s had to close all of them except for his Norwell branch and is hoping to funnel takeout orders through this kitchen. While he’s not sure selling alcohol “to go” would save the day, every little bit helps.

“I don’t think it’s gonna be a big enough impact," said Houlihan. “I don’t think it hurts. Don’t get me wrong. For my restaurant friends who are there. I see it.”