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February 26, 2021

Worcester will re-open bar-top dining on Monday

Photo | Grant Welker Worcester City Manager Edward Augustus. Behind him are Dr. Michael Hirsh, the medical director of the Worcester Division of Public Health; Carolyn Jackson, the CEO of Saint Vincent Hospital; Eric Dickson, the president and CEO of UMass Memorial Health Care; and Worcester Mayor Joseph Petty.

A week after the Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to City Manager Edward Augustus requesting bar-top dining be allowed once again, the City of Worcester announced on Thursday the ban would be lifted Monday.

The announcement came on the same day that Gov. Charlie Baker announced the state would move forward into Phase 4 of the state’s multi-step reopening plan. 

“While we understand the need to continue to be vigilant against the fight in stopping the spread of this virus, we must also remember that these small businesses are on the cusp of shuttering,” wrote Alex Guardiola, chamber director of government affairs and public policy in his Feb. 17 letter to Augustus. “One in four restaurants in the commonwealth have closed their doors for good.”

Guardiola pointed out that Worcester, which had long been designated as a red community at the highest risk for coronavirus transition, had been demoted to yellow.

Augustus signed an executive order banning bar seating on Sept. 24 of last year. Under the order, the ban would lift once Worcester was once again designated a yellow community.

During a press conference on Thursday, Augustus said case numbers, deaths and hospitalizations from COVID-19 were trending in a positive direction. However, Augustus said, residents should remain vigilant about mask-wearing, social distancing and handwashing, despite the encouraging figures. 

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