Bar Seating and Increased Number of People at a Table - Welcome News for Restaurants

September 23, 2020
Massachusetts Restaurant Association
Massachusetts updates certain restaurant requirements

New Restaurant Standards go into effect on Monday September 28:

including increased table size, bar seating and reusable menus in new regulation announced today.
Table size will increase from 6 to 10 guests per table
Bar seating
  • Bar seating is permitted provided that either: 
  • There are no active work areas or working staff behind the bar at least 6 ft away; or 
  • There is a physical barrier (e.g. Plexiglas) separating customers from the bar space that is at least 30 inches high and a gap/opening at the bottom of the barrier is allowed for food and drink service as long as the gap/opening is no more than 8 inches high
  • In addition, parties must be seated at bars (no standing customer service) and parties must be spaced at least 6 ft from other parties 
  • Subject to any applicable building and fire code requirements, bar areas may be reconfigured to accommodate table seating that complies with all spacing and other requirements in these COVID-19 safety standards. Tables must not be placed within 6 feet of the staffed bartending area.
  • All customers must be seated; eat-in service to standing customers (e.g., around bar areas) is prohibited
Pool Tables other recreation amenities
  • Recreation amenities which are allowed to open in Step 1 of Phase III (such as arcade games) may be open if adhering to all safety protocols in the Arcades & Other Indoor & Outdoor Game & Recreation Businesses including the requirement that active use of pool tables and other games involving patrons not seated at tables is not permitted in areas where food service is provided.
  • Menus must be one of the following: 1) paper, single-use menus disposed after each use, 2) displayed menu (e.g., digital, whiteboard, chalkboard), 3) electronic menus viewed on customers’ phones / mobile devices, or 4) laminated reusable menus sanitized between each use.
Complete Guidance


Direct to Guidance: