Earlier this week, it was reported that the Boston Licensing Board would be holding an emergency hearing for all North End restaurants on the heels of multiple complaints concerning social distancing and more as related to temporary outdoor spaces, and now the dining spots have been put on notice that they need to adhere to guidelines or face immediate punishment.
City licensing officials told North End restaurants in Wednesday's mandatory Zoom meeting that the Licensing Unit of the Boston Police Department and Inspectional Services Department inspectors will be randomly checking dining spots starting Thursday to see if they are in compliance with guidelines, including workers wearing masks, tables being spaced properly, restaurants not expanding their outdoor areas more than allowed, and more, including making sure that diners are not smoking and couches and piped-in music are not part of the outdoor setups.
If it is discovered that any restaurants are not complying with COVID-19 regulations from both the city and the state, their outdoor patios could be immediately shut down and the outdoor permits taken away, with diners being asked to leave on the spot; at that point, the police inspectors would take a look at the entire restaurant -- both inside and out -- with licensing board disciplinary hearings being a possibility.
Many restaurants in the North End and elsewhere have been able to set up temporary outdoor areas as part of Phase 2 of the reopening of the Massachusetts economy, thanks in part to the fast-tracking of the approval process for outdoor dining permits.
Boston Licensing Board to Hold Emergency Hearing for North End Restaurants to Address Numerous Complaints
by Marc Hurwitz (Also follow us on Twitter at @hiddenboston)
[A related post from our sister site (Boston's Hidden Restaurants): List of Restaurant Closings and Openings in the Boston Area]