Massachusetts restaurant owners who have been awaiting guidance on reopening got some new answers Friday.
Gov. Charlie Baker said he would issue an executive order Monday allowing restaurants and other businesses to start bringing back employees as phase 2 of the state's reopening nears.
When eating at restaurants resumes, it will start al fresco.
"Outdoor dining will begin at the start of phase 2," said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. "We're working with our partners in the legislature for streamlining our local permitting for outdoor dining."
""The ventilation obviously is better than indoors. It will give people a chance to figure out how to work between tables with respect to the degree of spacing," Baker said. "And It's spring."
"Alls I can say is, hopefully, better days are coming," said Frank DePasquale, owner of Bricco and other North End eateries.
Restaurants are expected to open sometime around June 8.
"We have been through the toughest times, and hopefully, we can get to the next stage," DePasquale said.
Diners and servers will need to be masked. Patrons can take their masks off at tables, where only six people can sit.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the "Healthy Streets" plan Thursday to help create new space for outdoor seating at restaurants.
The mayor and the city’s licensing board has been working with more than 200 businesses to help facilitate expanded outdoor dining on sidewalks and even in parking lanes.
In addition to restaurants, Baker announced new guidelines for hotels.
In anticipation of capacity restrictions, many Massachusetts eateries are re-imagining the dining experience during the pandemic. Some are even considering adding mannequins to the mix to make the space feel more full.
Others are trying to get ahead of the curve by putting up Plexiglas barriers between booths and tents wherever possible to help with outdoor dining.
Dante de Magistris, co-owner of Il Casale and The Wellington in Belmont, said they are trying to think of everything.
"We're going to do things like have artists put some paint on Plexiglas just to make it a little more interesting," de Magistris said.
Restaurant owners, including de Magistris, have said they are anxiously waiting for the state to put out industry-specific guidelines for them.