How will restaurants and other businesses return to normal (whatever the new normal may look like) once the COVID-19 pandemic comes to an end? A recent article in the Boston Globe highlights different ideas by local tourism, restaurant, and hotel leaders to bounce back once the public health crisis subsides.
One idea supported by the Massachusetts Restaurant Association is more flexibility with outdoor seating, which would allow restaurants to spread out patrons. In the North End, many restaurants are physically small, resulting in diners sitting very close to one another. Having more space would allow for some of the social distancing we’ve become accustomed to, and assure the health of employees and customers. Examples include being able to set up makeshift patios on sidewalks or in parking lots, even closing off entire streets to car traffic such as the North End’s Hanover Street.
The idea of widening sidewalks on Hanover Street and adding al fresco dining, similar to Newbury Street, is not a new one. The North End Chamber of Commerce proposed a similar idea back in 2011. Then City Councilor Sal LaMattina proposed closing part of the street to cars, but received a negative reaction from the neighborhood. At that time, it seems most of the local residents’ frustration stemmed from the comparison with Newbury St. and concerns that Hanover St. would lose its authentic feel and just push tourist traffic to the residential side streets.
In a reader poll in June 2017, NorthEndWaterfront.com readers appeared to vote in support of care-free Hanover Street, but a closer look at the comments shows many residents were against it, saying this would not benefit the local community.
Now the idea resurfaces, from a new social distancing angle. What do you think? Should Hanover Street be closed to cars so that restaurants can spread out patrons with outdoors seating once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides? Vote in our poll and add your comments in the section below!
Web polls are unscientific and reflect only those who choose to participate. NorthEndWaterfront.com polls do not have any official significance and are only intended for the interest of our readers.