Meals Tax Collection Extension & Advice on Reopening

June 18, 2020
Massachusetts Restaurant Association
Meals Tax Collections due 6/20 will be due on 9/20

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka and House Speaker Robert DeLeo today announced additional administrative tax relief measures for local businesses, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. 
This tax relief builds upon previous similar tax extensions and includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room occupancy taxes for businesses that would be due from March through August, so that they will instead be due in September. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.
The Department of Revenue issued emergency regulations and a Technical Information Release to implement these administrative relief measures. This can be found here

A note from the MRA and Bob Luz....

As we get ready to reopen the inside of our restaurants and invite our guests back into our houses, we feel it is important to share some of what we have learned from other state associations across the country, a number of whom are further along reopening than Massachusetts. Please note, we are trying not to come off as parental, but we do feel the need to share and hopefully help us avoid the mistakes which have been made in other reopens.

First and foremost – every operator must take the health and well-being of their employees and their guests as the single most critical aspect of the business. We always have, and we do so even more in these trying times. It is incumbent upon us all that we work together to do everything we can to make certain we never return to these days again. And at times, that means we may need to ensure our guests and our employees respect and live by those same rules.

Not every guest agrees that dining with us is as safe as we know it to be. Some will be looking to play “gotcha”, waiting to share the moment they believe they see unsafe practices occurring in pictures or videos through social media. While we know we will never relive the infamous Lake of The Ozark’s video, people are clamoring for what life used to be, and we are just not there yet.

We need to put our best foot forward as industry. Follow the protocols:
  • Six-foot distancing is six-foot distancing – in addition, plexi-glass or similar barriers can be used when six-foot distancing is a challenge.
  • The bar in the restaurant cannot be sat, but tables can be brought adjacent to it.
  • Staff must always wear masks. Gloves only are required where they always have been, to avoid bare hand food contact. They are no required for servers, bartenders, or hosts/hostesses.
  • Single use or touch-less menus are currently mandated, and condiments, salt and pepper should not be left on tables.

The guests have responsibilities as well:
  • They should not wait for a table inside the restaurant, rather stay outside and wait until texted that their table is ready.
  • Masks on guests are required to be worn in, out and while walking to and from the facilities
  • Discourage guests from visiting other tables as hard as that may be, remind them the state is asking us to all observe the established protocols.

As hard as it may be for us, our employees, and our guests to stay focused and stay to the expectations, in doing so, we will help ensure that the darkest days are truly behind us. 

Thank you and your employees for doing your part. By living up to the expectations, this will yet again be an example of #togetherwewin.