Renewed calls for Happy Hour in Massachusetts in response to the pandemic

Local News

EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Could Happy Hour make a comeback in the Commonwealth?

Right now it’s banned, but a ballot initiative could change that.

The last time “Happy Hour” happened in the state, the show Cheers was only in its second season, but with the pandemic, some are saying now’s the time to bring it back.

Ned King is the part-owner of Gigantic, a cocktail bar in Easthampton where there’s something unique in every corner. The bar opened in 2018, but they’ve been closed about the same time they’ve been open because of the pandemic.

King told 22News they had to close temporarily since they don’t serve food and they can’t offer cocktails to-go. So they were able to get by through money they had saved up and government aid. He said Happy Hour could help local businesses.

“It would drive revenue for bars and bars really need that especially now right after the pandemic,” said King.

The ban was put in place in 1984 following a series of deadly crashes involving drunk drivers. However, Ned said to-go cocktails showed people for the most part could be responsible during the pandemic.

Meantime polling data from MassInc. reveals Massachusetts residents are largely in favor, 70 percent supporting the return of Happy Hour.

Ned also said this measure could open the door for more, like events. Something that he said could be good for not just their business, but all of Easthampton.

“Especially in Easthampton along Cottage Street, it would help with just getting people downtown a little earlier,” he said.

The measure still needs to go through a few hoops, but it could be on the ballot in 2022.

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