As the third year of the outdoor dining pilot program kicks off Friday, there seems to be some confusion and frustration regarding news rules and guidelines issued by the City of Boston.
With the battle between Mayor Michelle Wu and the North End restaurants taking front and center in the news, there are other issues arising for the rest of the neighborhoods in Boston.
Initially this program started as help for Boston restaurants struggling to stay afloat during the pandemic. Many restaurants took advantage of outdoor dining but this year there is some confusion with the new rules.
According to the Boston Globe, there is a new 22-page packet for the outdoor dining license with many new additions to rules and guidelines. Additions that some smaller restaurants are struggling with like automobile and workers’ compensation insurance to changes to the type of barriers restaurants can use. Ropes, planters, and wooden railings are out; restaurants must use concrete jersey or water-filled barriers.
Owner of Southie’s Gray’s Hall, Andy Fadous is quoted in the globe article. He worked with a special architect last season to design and created an industrial-style patio that could be packed up and reused each season. Now that structure doesn’t comply with the new rules.
In order to meet compliance, Fadous ordered 10 new barriers costing around $500 each and they won’t arrive for a month which delays his patio opening.
Some, like the Massachusetts Restaurant Association, think the new guidance and rules will help make outdoor dining a more permanent thing and not just a pilot program.
But for now, it seems many local restaurants will have to make sure they are complying in order to get up and running…which could delay outdoor dining opening in the neighborhood. Here is list of outdoor dining spots currently open in the the neighborhood.
You can read the full article in the Globe here.