BOSTON (CBS) – The City of Boston announced plans Thursday to help restaurants as they begin to reopen with coronavirus precautions under the state’s phased plan.
As part of the state’s phased reopening restaurants, which can currently only offer curbside and takeout options, fall in Phase 2. There is no date associated with the phase yet, but it will come no earlier than June 8.
Boston’s Licensing Board voted on Thursday to streamline the process to make it easier for restaurants to open in different fashions such as with outdoor dining.
“We want to help restaurants recover and create safe distance options for everyone,” said Walsh. “I want to be clear, this is for when dining and restaurants are allowed back in the plan, and that is not in Phase One, but we want to be ready. So, this morning the city of Boston Licensing Board took action to lift restrictions and streamline the process.”
During the Thursday meeting, the board voted to allow restaurants to apply for a series of one-day outdoor dining licenses.
The board also voted to lift the citywide condition that alcohol could be served with food only for outdoor space. The city also will waive fees for the approved use of outdoor space on a temporary basis.
“I know that restaurants have really been suffering,” said Boston Licensing Board Chairwoman Kathleen Joyce. “I think outdoor dining options are important not only for the health and safety of patrons but for the livelihood of our neighborhoods.”
Walsh said the city is offering information for small businesses on what personal protective equipment (PPE) they need and where they can get it. Resources have been set up on the city’s website.
“It has guidance on what type of PPE your business or organization needs, guidance on how to procure the right items to avoid mistakes and scams, a list of vendors that make and sell PPE and cleaning supplies,” said Walsh. “It’s also a way to help local vendors find customers. To be clear, it’s the responsibility of the employer to provide protective gear for their workers. This is a resource to help them meet that responsibility.”
“We had about 48 employees. We’re looking at maybe starting out with six,” said General Manager Shawn Hunter.
Hunter said they’ll cut capacity inside by more than half and plan to take advantage of outside seating.
“We can make it a nice environment for people to come here and enjoy our food and be outdoors. And still be 6 feet away with social distancing,” Hunter said.
Brockton is also taking steps to allow outside dining, something that’s never been done in the city’s history. Mayor Robert Sullivan said the permit is long overdue and will be critical for the survival of small businesses. He filed a proposal with the city council and expects it to be approved as early as next week.
“Cape Cod Cafe that’s been here forever, George’s Cafe, The Italian Kitchen, they wouldn’t have to file anything other than working with Board of Health making sure to meet guidelines for health and safety,” Sullivan said.