Commentary

printed 06/25/2021

A few exceptions notwithstanding, businesses throughout the coastal area suffered through a disaster of unprecedented proportions last year. No hurricane or nor’easter, including the famous March 1962 storm, delivered a blow to the local economy as devastating as the covid-19 pandemic did in 2020.

It was a neutron bomb-like calamity that destroyed no property, but caused so much damage that some of its victims might not recover. This is particularly the case for the restaurant industry, which, perhaps, bore the economic brunt of the year-long imposition of severe operational restrictions.

But as the rest of the nation returns to some level of normalcy, bars and restaurants continue to suffer because worker shortages prevent many of them from fully opening and increasing their chances of a full recovery.

That is why we urge the Worcester County Board of License Commissioners to allow liquor license holders to continue the carryout beverage business they established according to last year’s State of Emergency declaration, which expires next week.

Because the three-member liquor board is appointed by the governor and operates independently of county government, what it says goes in all matters pertaining to the sale of alcoholic beverages. It answers only to two things: state law and the community it serves. That said, we believe the community does support an extension of the to-go business until at least the end of this summer.

As reported elsewhere in the paper this week, some bars and restaurants believe such an extension is unnecessary and that’s fine. But for others, this extra revenue could be the difference between a continuation of their enterprises and closing the doors for good.

As partners in this area’s pursuit of tourism-based prosperity and more normal summers ahead, we hope that the establishments who need this help can get it. For those that don’t, we congratulate you on your ability to rebound from what might have been this area’s worst business year ever.

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