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Outdoor Dining Coming Back To Boston April 1 - Except In The North End

BOSTON (CBS) -- Mayor Michelle Wu announced Thursday that outdoor dining is coming back April 1 to Boston - except in the North End.

The city's Outdoor Dining Pilot Program lets restaurants expand into public space for outside seating. Online applications are now being accepted here.

"For the past two years we've seen how outdoor dining activates public spaces, helps small businesses, and creates connected communities for everyone," Wu said in a statement. "I'm excited to bring outdoor dining back this spring to support our small businesses and continue to make public spaces more accessible and enjoyable for residents, business owners, and visitors across our neighborhoods."

Wu notes that there are "significant changes" to the outdoor dining rules, including closing hours of 9:30 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 10:30 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. All diners must be off the premises by 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekend nights. There are also new safety and insurance requirements for restaurant owners to meet.

As WBZ-TV reported last week, some North End residents are pushing back against outdoor dining. Restaurant patios have been very popular along the neighborhood's famous Hanover Street during the pandemic.

Some residents argued at a recent meeting that outdoor dining 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."

Wu said there is currently a "community review" of outdoor dining happening in the North End. One possible outcome is for outdoor dining to start on April 8 and end on Labor Day, while the program runs until winter for the rest of Boston.

Restaurants in the North End can still apply for a permit from the city while details are worked out.


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