BOSTON

Mayor Wu Announces Return of Boston's Outdoor Dining Program

The season will begin on Friday, April 1

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Mayor Michelle Wu announced Thursday that Boston's Outdoor Dining Pilot Program will return this spring.

The 2022 Outdoor Dining Pilot Program season will begin on Friday, April 1, except in the North End. The citywide program allows restaurants the use of expanded pubic spaces for outdoor dining. The program first took effect in June 2020 to help boost business at restaurants struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Applications are now open and can be submitted here.

The mayor's office said the North End is currently undergoing a community review of the outdoor dining program as special considerations are needed due to the density of the restaurants in the neighborhood. North End restaurants can still submit an application while awaiting follow-up information from the City of Boston on how the program will proceed in the neighborhood.

“For the past two years we’ve seen how outdoor dining activates public spaces, helps small businesses, and creates connected communities for everyone,” Wu said. “I’m excited to bring outdoor dining back this spring to support our small businesses and continue to make public spaces more accessible and enjoyable for residents, business owners, and visitors across our neighborhoods.” 

“We are excited to see the Outdoor Dining Pilot Program return to the City of Boston,” said Segun Idowu, Boston's chief of economic opportunity and inclusion. “This program not only provided much needed support for our small businesses, it also activated spaces across our neighborhoods and helped keep our city vibrant as we recovered from the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis. The city said the more than 400 restaurants that participated in 2021 must reapply for 2022.

The city said it has made some changes to the outdoor dining guidance, including new closing hours of 9:30 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday and 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. They have also updated barrier and fire safety guidance and added new insurance requirements and an evacuation plan. The full guidance can be found here.

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