BOSTON (CBS) -- The outdoor dining season officially began Sunday in Boston's North End.
The return came with great fanfare, great weather, and hungry appetites. Sixty-seven restaurants have applied to participate this year.
This comes after a long battle between restaurant owners and Mayor Michelle Wu after the city announced it would charge North End restaurants $7,500 for the use of outdoor dining space. 23 restaurants were approved for hardship waivers to lower the fee.
Frank DePasquale is the owner of several restaurants in the North End. He says outdoor dining is big for business, especially for restaurants hit hard by the pandemic.
"It's gigantic for us. I personally lost half a dozen people. But we understand, and it's all about us being one family, the residents and businesses."
DePasquale says this season there are several new changes in place. In certain areas, there is one-way traffic and four-foot spacing so people can get by.
"They are testing all these things, and I think it's for the betterment of everything," he said.
People who were taking advantage of outdoor dining on Sunday said they were thrilled to have it back.
"It's beautiful, and it's just a sign that we are getting back to being human again and nice to be around people," said one patron.
Parts of Moody Street in Waltham also welcomed back outdoor dining starting Sunday.
The city's traffic commission agreed to close the road to car traffic through October 31.
The road was closed last year as well. The city said it will use the same traffic pattern as 2021.
for more features.