The city of Boston has extended the deadline for North End restaurant owners to apply for this year's outdoor dining program to April 13.
The rest of the city has already begun the outdoor dining season, but the North End is set to start in May. The original application deadline was Sunday.
In an email sent to restaurant owners, technical issues with the dining program application portal has been mentioned as the reason for the extension.
Restaurant owners in the North End have been battling with Mayor Michelle Wu over a $7,500 fee, arguing that no other part of Boston is subject to the same fee for outdoor dining spaces. In addition, restaurants will be charged $458 a month for each parking spot used in their outdoor dining areas.
Wu has said the city will offer hardship waivers to restaurants that fit certain criteria, and prorated rates to businesses that don't want to take advantage of outdoor dining for the full five-month season. But some North End Restaurant owners still say the fee setup is unfair and that they will not pay.
Last year in Boston, more than 400 restaurants took advantage of serving outside. This is the third year of a pilot program that started during the pandemic.
For those doing it this year, there are some new rules in place. Outdoor dining areas have to close at 9:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday. On Fridays and Saturdays, they can remain open until 10:30 p.m.
Boston is also requiring more insurance and more specific design plans. But perhaps one of the most noticeable changes to restaurant owners is that they will also need updated, heavy-duty barriers.
When it comes to those barriers, there has been some pushback from restaurant owners, who argue that the ones they bought last year were a wasted investment.
The new ones are quite costly.
According to the email sent to restaurant owners, a zoom call has been organized to help applicants navigate the application forms next Wednesday on April 13.