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Boston Officials Want To Allow Outdoor Dining In North End, But Some Residents Push Back

BOSTON (CBS) - The makeshift patios along Hanover Street in Boston's North End became a very popular option during the pandemic. So popular that the city wants to allow restaurants to set up outside again.

But not everyone is on board.

City officials told residents about their plans during a community meeting Thursday night that was well attended. Some pushed back against the proposal, arguing it impacts their quality of life and makes traffic in the area worse.

"I'm visually impaired. So my comments are not about driving or parking. My comments are about walking. Hanover Street is the main street," said North End resident Mary McGee, who has lived in the area for 48 years. "During the outdoor dining, it is almost impossible for me to walk on the sidewalk."

But city officials say they'll be stepping up enforcement to make sure everyone is following the rules.

"Mayor Wu has allowed us, as a task force, to be able to issue everything, from verbal warnings to being able to suspend an outdoor dining locations, ability to serve and utilize that space, to revoking that license and permit as well," said John Romano, Deputy Director of Neighborhood Services.

Officials are assuring North End residents that there will be special rules for the neighborhood like no outdoor dining. Entertainment will be allowed on the patios and there's a 10:30 p.m. curfew for dinners.

There will also be better barrier safety measures this year and parking options at nearby city-owned garages.

The plan now is for outdoor dining in the North End to start April 8 and end on Labor Day, but it will run until the winter for the rest of the city.

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