BOSTON (WWLP) – There is a new push to bring back happy hour in Massachusetts. Happy hour was prohibited in Massachusetts in the ’80s due to drunk driving, but a bill on Beacon Hill is looking to bring it back to the Bay State.
At a hearing Wednesday on a range of alcohol related legislation, a bill by Senator Julian Cyr of Provincetown that would bring back happy hour was heard. This may sound familiar because Senator Julian Cyr tried to get this passed last year through the economic development bill, but it did not survive conference committee.
Senator Julian Cyr believes Massachusetts has a ‘fun’ problem, “It is so expensive to live in this state, and I really think we have to look hard at retaining young people, that we’re attracting young people. Is happy hour going to solve all this? No. But, it certainly could be part of a package where we bolster our competitiveness and our retention of young people in the state.”
On top of allowing cities and towns to decide whether or not they would allow Happy Hour in their district, the promotion cannot run past 10 p.m.
The Massachusetts Restaurants Association said some restaurant owners are in support but even more are opposed. They said in a statement, “This is generally not something that restaurants are going around asking for. Restaurants are asking for relief on the high cost of operating the business.”
Also heard Wednesday was legislation to allow restaurants to permanently sell beer, wine and cocktails to-go, making the pandemic era policy permanent in state law.
This wasn’t the only bill heard regarding happy hour, another bill would create a commission to review happy hour rules, that was submitted by Representative Mike Connolly.