You've heard the expression "Necessity is the mother of invention," but its wisdom doesn't mean a thing to state government nowadays. Still, it's true, and it has been since 380 B.C. when the pronouncement was written by the Greek philosopher Plato. The idea behind it is having a problem will supply additional creativity to come up with unconventional solutions. Again, the government establishment has turned a deaf ear to the small business owners, who are shouting out that the problems created by this damn COVID-19 virus are driving them down into bankruptcy, or forward to do-or-die practices that I want to talk about.

Last week, Governor Charlie Baker said police will be allowed to discipline local moms-and-pops as they invoke coronavirus safety rules at bars posing as restaurants. So in order to buy a drink, a customer must first purchase food prepared on-premises – otherwise no food, no brewskies. Regardless if a bar spaces the seats, just like restaurants do, no lounges are allowed to open until Phase 4, whenever that is. It's fine to operate if you own a hashhouse, but the business has to go on the wagon if you own a saloon? Even package stores are allowed to operate, so what gives here?

Here's where Plato enters stage right. Owners are forced to get creative to put together enough of a kitchen to meet the guidelines, but some are getting pushback that their sandwiches prepared in the back don't really meet the thresholds of a restaurant. In the meantime, if you own a bar, you're still paying liquor license fees, taxes and expensive insurance. Believe me, you can't pay your debts and make a profit with the sale of a cacoila sandwich on a Portuguese pop prepared in the back kitchen. Bars make their business selling beer, wine and cocktails, period. So will the government reconsider and give these business owners a break right now?

Can someone put a credit card in the jukebox and play a little Frank Zappa, while I remind the governor and other officials that hunger also makes people inventive?

Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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