Outdoor dining in Boston begins Friday – NBC Boston
Outdoor dining is back in the city of Boston starting Friday, with the exception of the North End, which begins in May.
Some restaurants were ready to go with chairs in advance. Alfresco dining has been set up in response to help small businesses struggling to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic. Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is bringing the program back citywide this year except for the North End.
But North End restaurant owners are battling Mayor Michelle Wu over a $7,500 fee, arguing that no other part of Boston faces the same fees for outdoor dining spaces. Additionally, restaurants will be charged $458 per month for each parking space used in their outdoor dining areas.
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu isn’t backing down from her plan to charge $7,500, plus hundreds for every parking space used, for North End restaurants to host al fresco dining.
Last year in Boston, more than 400 restaurants took advantage of outdoor service.
“We’re really excited, it’s been a really, really tough winter,” Tres Gatos owner David Doyle said. “The start of January has been really tough with the omicron variant, so we in the restaurant community need our patios as much as ever.”
For those who do so this year, new rules have been put in place. Outdoor dining areas must close at 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays they can stay open until 10:30 p.m.
Boston also requires more insurance and more specific design plans. But perhaps one of the most notable changes for restaurateurs is that they will also need modern, sturdy barriers.
Regarding these barriers, restaurant owners have reacted, saying that the ones they bought last year were a wasteful investment.
The new ones are quite expensive.
“What’s frustrating for us is that a lot of investment of time and money was made in the last year, and now that investment is a wasted investment,” Doyle said.