BOSTON (CBS) -- Boston is preparing to bring back outdoor dining on city streets and sidewalks in just a few weeks. Mayor Marty Walsh announced Monday that the program that helped give a much-needed boost to restaurants hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic will return soon.
"We do have some good news as spring approaches. Outdoor dining was a bright spot last summer and fall here in the city of Boston," Walsh said a a news conference. "We are bringing it back for 2021 starting on April 1, or as soon as the weather permits."
The city said various departments are meeting regularly and keeping an eye on the weather forecast to figure out if an earlier start date would work. The program was shut down in December in preparation for snow removal.
Boston will restrict parking and close certain streets in order to make space for dining outside. More details about which streets will be affected are expected soon.
"We worked together to create safe and accessible conditions on both public health and private spaces," Walsh said. "The program brought much needed viability back into our streets and our small businesses."
The permitting process for outdoor dining in 2021 moved to a new online platform and there's free one-on-one help for restaurant owners who need additional support. Walsh said that so far the city has received more than 370 applications, and over 150 have been already approved.
North End restaurants have a soft deadline of March 15 to submit their outdoor dining application due to limited space in the neighborhood.
Click here for more information on Boston's outdoor dining plan.
for more features.