News

Outdoor Dining is Extended in the City of Boston

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh today announced the outdoor dining season in the City of Boston will be extended past the original closure date of October 31 to better support restaurants during the ongoing COVID-19 public health emergency. This extension applies to outdoor dining on both public and private property.

The Licensing Board, together with the Boston Fire Department, Inspectional Services Department, Boston Transportation Department, Public Improvement Commission, Department of Public Works, Office of Economic Development, and the Mayor’s Office of of Neighborhood Services have extended the Temporary Outdoor Dining Program on private property (i.e. outdoor dining spaces that do not extend onto public sidewalks and parking lanes) for the duration of the ongoing COVID-19 related public health emergency.

Restaurants utilizing the Temporary Outdoor Dining Program on public sidewalks and parking lanes may continue the approved use of those spaces until December 1, 2020, weather permitting or until further notice or until the Board issues further guidance. Requests for further extensions of this use shall be considered on a case by case basis in the coming weeks and months. In addition, application fees will be waived for businesses that apply for outdoor propane heaters. The full guidance from the Boston Licensing Board is available online.

“Restaurants in our neighborhoods represent our culture, community, and innovation,” said Mayor Walsh. “Restaurants have faced incredible challenges during this ongoing public health crisis, and the City of Boston is committed to helping them survive and succeed, including by giving restaurants more flexibility around outdoor dining.

“This announcement builds on the work the Walsh Administration has undertaken to support small businesses during the City’s COVID-19 response. On May 21st, the City of Boston announced new measures to help restaurants during the ongoing public health crisis, including expanding outdoor seating, and waiving fees for outdoor space. To date, the Office of Economic Development’s Small Business Relief Fund has awarded $6.7 million to businesses in need. The businesses receiving grants represent industries most-impacted by closures, policies, or general loss of revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic throughout every neighborhood in Boston. The Reopen Boston Fund, launched in May 2020, continues to offer grants to Boston’s businesses of up to $2,000 to assist with reopening costs, including for PPE. More than 1,200 businesses have received direct grants from the Reopen Boston Fund to date, with more than $2.1 million distributed.

To further assist the City’s small businesses, the City of Boston created a platform to help businesses source the personal protective equipment (PPE) and cleaning supplies they will be required to have available in order to ensure the safety of employees and customers as industries begin to reopen. Along with industry-specific reopening requirements, the page includes a list of self-identified, local suppliers of PPE and cleaning supplies, information on the Commonwealth of Massachusetts’ vendor database, and partner organizations helping to connect businesses with vendors.

In addition, in July Mayor Walsh announced a new ramp initiative to increase accessibility to outdoor dining amidst the COVID-19 public health emergency. Restaurants that have been granted a temporary license to have seating in a parking space or on the street are eligible to request a portable ramp.
Licensees interested in the Temporary Outdoor Dining Program that have not previously applied may do so via the online application process. If businesses need support through this process, please email smallbiz@boston.gov for technical assistance. A list of restaurants with outdoor dining is available on boston.gov.

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and Caught in Dot and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.