** Even more.
*** They won't.
**** They will.
Howdy friends! We were hoping to spend this week's blog ramblin' about Cool Birthday Stuff, but the Powers That Be have put us in a particularly peculiar pickle at the moment, so instead we're gonna treat you to a modestly-unhinged rant about some fun new covid-related rules* that have been doled out by the state (the rules themselves are, if we're being perfectly honest, not exactly "hinged" themselves). Anyway...
...given the increasing evidence that the virus is passed primarily through the air (as opposed to, for instance, people touching the same things) - which strongly suggests that having indoor spaces open to the public is less safe than outdoor spaces - coupled with the recent uptick in positive test results - which has largely been traceable to a number of large, private (often indoor) gatherings - the commonwealth of Massachusetts has declared that in order to consume alcohol on-premise, all patrons must... [checks notes]... purchase food. But! It can't just be any food. That would obviously lead to some sort of unimaginable crisis. No, in order to gain the magical health-and-safety-granting properties of eating while you're drinking, said food must be Prepared Onsite (and it must be enough food to "sufficiently serve the number of people at the table").
So. Now that we have this kind-of-baffling rule, there must be some clarification, right? Haha nope! It seems straightforward enough, until you realize that the word "prepared" doesn't have a real meaning in this context. The ruling does (rather specifically) state that opening a bag of chips and putting it on a plate doesn't count as "preparation" (sorry, fifty-year-olds-who-think-of-themselves-as-clever, your affinity for FritoLay won't fulfill this arbitrary requirement!), but that still leaves a lot of gray area! If we were to make chips, would that count? Probably! Do our soft pretzels count? Depends on whether or not the act of seasoning, heating, plating, and serving food counts as "preparation!" We (obviously) think it does, but the ruling specifically mentions pretzels as being somehow bad (though we assume it's talking about the bite-sized prebagged hard pretzels, since they're mentioned in the same context as chips) so it's anyone's guess! Maybe the governor has an issue with the pretzel industry?
But wait! There's more! Not to get all** lawyery on you, but it turns out that the word "onsite" is also open to all kinds of interpretation! If we were to want to hedge our bets on the whole "preparation" thing and bring in a pop-up, does that count? Excellent question! What about a food truck? Well, that probably depends on (among other things) whether or not the area directly next to our patio counts as "onsite," but it also raises the question of whether or not food and drinks need to be ordered on the same ticket. As far as the latter is concerned, it's implied that they do, but what if we just subject everybody to some sort of terrible pass-the-order-along telephone game, wherein you order from our staff, who then places your order with the food truck? That's sure to make everybody safer, right?
And while we're at it, what's a "sufficient quantity" of food, exactly? Well, other than an invitation to a Lawsuit Party if you try to enforce it, we don't know! But now we have to force you to buy ancillary stuff (at a threshold that we set) in order to have a drink, which sounds like the sort of thing that would get our license revoked if it were a rule we invented. But now The State is insisting on it so here we go!
Anyway, the point is that now you need to order one of several fairly specific food items in order to enjoy our beer garden and we are maybe a smidge grumpy about it. Assuming things go well,*** we'll be certain to start adding to our menu so that you don't OD on hot dogs, but that might take us a little while to finagle from a logistical standpoint (unless we can slap some slices of presliced cheese from Costco onto some presliced bread and call it a "deli sandwich," in which case we'll be up to speed fairly expediently). And that's all assuming that the rules won't completely change (again) in two weeks.**** Fun times!
* A gentle reminder ("disclaimer"): we feel it's important to note that, despite the somewhat flippant tone in this blog post, the health and safety of our employees and customers is our top priority. And, it should go without saying, we will be following whatever new rules do get passed, regardless of whether or not we consider them to be misguided.
** Even more.
*** They won't.
**** They will.
Jared and Jimbo will tell you some things, sometimes.