Outdoor dining begins in most Boston neighborhoods – Boston News, Weather, Sports

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BOSTON (WHDH) – Outdoor dining returned to many Boston neighborhoods on Friday, marking the third year of the pandemic-era program.

Restaurants in neighborhoods across the city have started to set up patio equipment for the season, but eateries in the North End have to wait until May 1 before they can offer an outdoor seating option.

Hundreds of restaurants participated in the program last year. However, new rules are in place for 2022, including a requirement that calls for restaurants to use concrete jersey or water-filled barriers around their patios to protect diners.

“The feedback that we’ve gotten the last two years has gone directly into the changes this year to ensure safety,” Mayor Michelle Wu said. “We have diners sitting right in the streets because in many of our neighborhoods the sidewalks are too narrow.”

Boston is requiring North End restaurant owners to pay a $7,500 fee for the right to offer outdoor dining on neighborhood streets this summer. They have also been ordered to pay an additional $450 per month for each parking spot they use for outdoor seating.

“The City made some changes to the outdoor dining program in the North End based on feedback received from the community,” Wu’s office said in a statement last month. “A committee of community members and local elected officials will advise how those funds are spent to mitigate the impact of the program on the residents of the neighborhood.”

After many restaurant owners threatened a lawsuit over the fee, Wu announced that they could apply for hardship waivers to lower the fees. She also said the fees could be paid over a period of months rather than in one lump sum.

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