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City of Cambridge Orders Restaurants Limit Party Size to Six

Cambridge's City Hall is located in Central Square.
Cambridge's City Hall is located in Central Square. By Jacqueline S. Chea
By Taylor C. Peterman, Crimson Staff Writer

The City of Cambridge issued a temporary emergency order last week requiring additional safety standards for local restaurants beginning September 28.

The temporary order — signed by Commissioner of Public Health Assaad J. Sayah and City Manager Louis A. DePasquale — states that a maximum of six people can comprise a dining party.

The second provision requires that seated food service at a bar cannot commence until October 3. Businesses may offer bar service only after the Cambridge Inspectional Services Department has signed off that the required physical barrier — at least 30 inches high— separates customers from the bar space. Additionally, all parties at the bar must be seated at least six feet apart from each other.

These additional provisions are more restrictive than those established statewide, which allow a maximum of 10 people per party and permit bar seating starting September 28.

Cambridge’s Emergency Order also specifies that any stricter provisions issued by Governor Baker or any departments of the Commonwealth will govern restaurant operations.

The Commonwealth’s workplace safety standards for restaurants — last updated September 22 — outline mandatory standards with which restaurants must comply during the pandemic.

Standards include guidelines for social distancing, hygiene protocols, staffing and operations procedures, and cleaning and disinfecting guidelines. For example, the standards require that restaurants space tables six feet apart; provide alcohol-based hand sanitizers at entrances, exits, and in the dining area; and keep cleaning logs of the date, time, and scope of cleaning.

These guidelines constitute part of Phase III of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan. The Commonwealth provides standards for other establishments as well, including retail businesses, fitness facilities, and hair salons.

As the Commonwealth has progressed through its reopening plan, Harvard Square restaurants have adapted to the evolving guidelines.

David DuBois, owner of Tasty Burger, wrote in an emailed statement that, since its reopening, the restaurant’s Harvard Square location has adopted all state and local guidelines to protect its customers and staff.

“We have supplemented our existing practices with all state and local guidelines and safety procedures to ensure the wellbeing of our guests and team members,” he wrote. “Additionally, we have implemented daily electrostatic spraying to further disinfect the restaurant and launched an online ordering system.”

The Cambridge Emergency Order states it will remain in effect “until further notice or until the declaration of a State of Emergency in the City has been rescinded.”

—Staff writer Taylor C. Peterman can be reached at taylor.peterman@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @taylorcpeterman.

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