Restaurants in Boston's North End are hoping to expand outdoor dining capabilities as the city receives numerous complaints about non-compliance with coronavirus protocols in the historic neighborhood.
The Boston Licensing Board held an emergency virtual hearing Thursday night as residents voice concerns about tables not being spaced far enough apart, a lack of social distancing and restaurant staff not wearing masks.
Several North End restaurant owners asked the licensing board about adding outdoor heaters and even tents as the weather gets colder. The board pushed back on the tents, citing space limitations.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh extended the outdoor dining season Tuesday. The special licenses were initially supposed to expire on Oct. 31, but restaurants will be able to keep tables on sidewalks and behind barriers in parking spots until at least Dec. 1.
If their outdoor seats are on private property, they can stay indefinitely, until the end of the public health emergency Walsh declared because of the pandemic.
A few months ago, the licensing board held a similar emergency hearing with coronavirus complaints. The city has the ability to pull outdoor dining licenses for violations.