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Cambridge to Permit Restaurants to Sell Groceries

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The City of Cambridge announced Monday that it will allow restaurants to sell groceries directly to consumers during the coronavirus crisis.

The emergency order will enable eateries that receive a license from the city to sell items such as meats, dairy products, vegetables, and non-perishables through pick-up or delivery services.

“This order will help support our local restaurants and alleviate pressure on grocery stores, while also making it less stressful for Cambridge residents to find critical supplies close to home,” City Manager Louis A. DePasquale and Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui said in a joint statement announcing the order.

“We know that visits to the grocery store can be stressful for many residents, and we believe this order will increase food access to various parts of the city, reduce crowds, and help people support and stay connected to their neighborhood businesses,” they added.

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Restaurants can apply for a license beginning May 1.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie D. Baker ’79 banned on-premise consumption at restaurants on March 17. Since then, some eateries have stayed open for delivery and take-out.

“Anything that can add convenience to folks at home — particularly those who might be ordering lunch and their groceries at the same time — is probably a good thing,” Harvard Square Business Association Executive Director Denise A. Jillson said.

The coronavirus has taken a heavy toll on Cambridge businesses. Earlier this month, more than 500 Greater Boston eateries signed a letter to Baker requesting emergency relief.

At least 31 Square eateries remain open in some capacity. Three retail stores are still operating, while others continue to do business online.

Michael Monestime, the executive director of the Central Square Business Improvement District, said in a press release that the emergency order will benefit local restaurants.

“The Central Square BID is in full support of restaurants who want to temporarily sell grocery items,” Monestime said. “We believe that our businesses need every tool available to help weather this storm.”

—Staff writer Jasper G. Goodman can be reached at jasper.goodman@thecrimson.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jasper_Goodman.​​​​​

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