Last week Mayor Martin Walsh and the Boston Licensing Board announced a list of East Boston restaurants, as well as restaurants across the city, that received special permits to allow for outdoor dining during Phase II of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan.
While indoor dining is still not allowed in restaurants, the news that the city approved applications to allow for expanded use of public spaces for outdoor dining was a welcome relief to Eastie restaurant owners.
“We are now open for patio dining, so come and enjoy a nice cold beer or margaritas outside,” said Mi Pueblito in a statement. Mi Pueblito received an outdoor dining permit for the restaurant’s two locations on Border Street and Orient Heights Square.
Mi Pueblito was one of 13 Eastie restaurants to receive one of the special permits as the city and state moved closer to some normalcy after weeks of a statewide “stay at home” order during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other restaurants included Mi Rancho Restaurant; the Cunard Tavern; La Cancun; Casa Colombia; Tutti Frutti; Maverick’s; Santarpio’s Pizza; Napoles Restaurant; Bohemios Restaurant Bar; Rincon Limeno Restaurant; Barney’s Grill; Tawakal Halal Cafe; Pazza On Porter; Mi Pueblito; Luna’s; and Renegade’s Pub.
“We’re ready for lunch and dinner reservations,” said Pazza on Porter in a statement. “Go to our website to book and we’ll see you outside.”
Pazza on Porter already had an outdoor patio but received a permit to expand its outdoor dining area into the restaurant’s parking lot.
Santarpio’s also got a special permit and has placed outdoor seating across Porter Street under the Route 1A viaduct.
“Boston is committed to a safe, phased reopening process,” said Walsh. “That includes helping our small businesses open safely and successfully, and we’ve been working wherever we can to remove barriers and provide new opportunities. The restaurant industry has been incredibly impacted by this global pandemic, and we’ve made helping the small businesses that make our neighborhoods and city so special a priority during this time.”
Walsh said the City has received close to 500 requests for temporary extension onto outdoor space citywide, and already more than 200 businesses have received full or conditional approval to expand their outdoor space to serve patrons.
The Licensing Board is actively issuing approvals for temporary extensions on private and public property, and applications will continue to be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis. Applications and guidance are available on boston.gov, the Licensing Board has been conducting outreach throughout Boston’s neighborhoods to encourage restaurants to apply for this program.
Restaurants that applied and received approval could begin outdoor service on their property, or in the public parking spaces outside their establishment, immediately. Those outdoor spaces can remain open until 10 p.m. on weeknights and 11 p.m. on weekends.
Outdoor restaurant tables must be minimum 6 feet away, and tables can’t seat more than 6 people. Workers must wear masks, and patrons must wear masks until they are seated at their tables.
Because bar areas still remain closed at neighborhood restaurants, the Licensing Board also voted last month to lift citywide the preexisting condition of “alcohol with food only” on outdoor space or any other similar condition that prohibits the sale and service of alcohol on outdoor space without the service of a food item. “We are thrilled to announce that we are reopening,” said the Cunard in a statement. “Reservations can be made now and we are seating in 90 minute blocks only. Social distancing and masks must be worn, bare with us as we work out our flow with the new rules in place.”