A $1.6 billion supplemental spending bill
sent to Gov. Charlie Baker would extend
deadlines for expanded outdoor dining.
(Photo courtesy Abby Auld/Massachusetts
Department of Transportation)

The House and Senate yesterday passed a $1.6 billion fiscal 2022 supplemental budget that includes $100 million for repairing winter damage to local roads and an extension of rules for expanded outdoor dining and takeout cocktails.

The bill (H. 4578) would extend deadlines for expanded outdoor dining under rules that were initially created in response to the public health emergency — rules that had been due to expire today.

Under an executive order issued in 2020, municipalities were permitted to use an expedited process to approve temporary permits for new or expanded outdoor dining and alcohol service. The rules have since been extended by legislation. The Legislature’s bill would extend the rules through April 1, 2023.

The bill would also extend, through April 1, 2023, an emergency provision allowing restaurants to sell beer, wine and cocktails to go. That provision was due to expire on May 1.

Most of the spending bill is dedicated to COVID-19 pandemic response and recovery efforts, including expanded testing, vaccination sites and workforce development.

The $100 million in winter road recovery funds may be used for the rehabilitation, reconstruction, resurfacing or preservation of local roads. The funds could also be used to repair or replace traffic control devices, signage, guardrails, and storm grates, as well as road striping or painting.

The measure does not include two other municipal priorities that were in the original version of the bill, filed by Gov. Charlie Baker in February: a $100 million one-time supplemental appropriation for the Chapter 90 local road and bridge program, and $150 million for environmental initiatives, including the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program.

The governor now has 10 days to consider the bill before signing or vetoing it or returning it with amendments.

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