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Reader Poll: Are You Enjoying the New Outdoor Dining?

Outdoor dining began last week across the state as part of phase 2 of Massachusetts’ reopening plan following the COVID-19 shutdown.

The city of Boston has permitted cafe-zones to allow restaurants to set up outdoor seating, as indoor has not yet resumed. (Indoor dining is set to begin as the second part of phase 2, but a date is yet to be determined).

Beginning Thursday, June 11, North End dining poured out into the streets with European-style cafes and piazzas, complete with umbrellas, plants, and even music.

The catalyst for the cafe zones was to help restaurants recover from the COVID-19 shutdown, but many have been wanting this type of outdoor dining for a long time and would like it to stay beyond just this season, a decision to come later. While many are happy to see economic activity return, others are questioning the long-term consequences of traffic and quality of life issues, as well as potential resurgence of COVID-19.

What do you think? Are you enjoying the new outdoor dining? Vote in our poll and add your comments in the section below!

Web polls are unscientific and reflect only those who choose to participate. polls do not have any official significance and are only intended for the interest of our readers.

10 Replies to “Reader Poll: Are You Enjoying the New Outdoor Dining?

  1. Is this going away when part 2 of phase 2 begins and people can eat inside?

    Because, where is everyone supposed to park? They are taking up an enormous number of parking spots…

  2. I think that the seating areas look charming, and it’s a good opportunity for the restaurants during this time. But I personally would not feel safe sitting so close to oncoming traffic so I am sticking with takeout. I am also concerned about Covid resurgence — some of these tables appear to be too close together, and the sidewalks are getting more crowded with people who are not wearing masks.

  3. I think it’s the best thing that has happened to the neighborhood in some time. I hope we can have this for 90 days each year. That said, while I live in the neighborhood and do not have a parking problem myself, I can understand the frustration by those who live here and need to park. They are tax payers (directly or indirectly) and they should have the right to park. I also engaged in a discussion with a delivery person who was wheeling a pallet jack down Salem Street… he was very frustrated about where he had to park in order to unload his delivery. He told me that he had just gotten a $100 parking ticket and that his work day would now, essentially, be for free. So, if we can iron out where/how residents can park overnight and if we can iron out where/how delivery folks can do their job, then this atmosphere, I think, is a positive option. People who feel unsafe sitting in the street can always sit inside (when inside dining returns).

  4. Trying to think of ways to do this, because I’m not against it, but if you have to drive to work it’s incredibly difficult to find a spot now especially with all the street construction. The street construction has to be at an all time high.
    What you would have to do is provide a place for people to park. Most garages are private so that’s out. I believe the city owns the lot at Sargents wharf that is currently extremely empty with the lack of toursits. If you give residents (or a number of residents) free parking during the period of open dining, that would be a fair option.

    1. I spoke with the North End liaison person from City Hall, John Romano. He told me that they are giving free parking passes to Government Center garage for residents of 52 – 139 Salem Street or 13 – 381 Hanover Street. If you are lucky enough to live on one of those streets, I would suggest reaching out to him to learn how you can obtain a pass. The rest of us will have to suffer with trying to find parking each night.

  5. I think everyone has their own opinion, but we are one of the most rat infested areas in the city.
    I love eating outside when I happen to be down the Seaport looking at our beautiful waterfront,
    but not looking at brick buildings & being concerned about Rats & Seagulls. I think those of you
    who enjoy eating outdoors in the No. End who have not encounted The Rodent & Bird Situation
    are very fortunate. The nice thing is we have choices & I happen to prefer the Seaport, which
    is much cleaner than the No. End. Mickey Mouse & Big Bird will be so happy the No. End
    decided to go alfresco. Bon appetit.

  6. I don’t have a problem with out door dining but the streets should not be totally blocked. Prince Street between Hanover and North Square is totally blocked between 11 am and whenever the restaurants close. It is wrong.

  7. If a fire engine has to get down there, you will see just how wrong it is. I understand the
    restaurant owners had a tough 3 or 4 months, but shutting the streets down is absurd. I guess everyone has to learn the hard way & hopefully nobody will have to die to prove this.

  8. I love the outdoor dining, which makes the North End a little more like 21st century Italian cities.

    As the Mayor of Bogota Colombia quipped, “A city can be friendly to people or it can be friendly to cars, but it can’t be both” Reusing our public space for private seating instead of storage of private cars is a nice switch. I haven’t seen so many happy people in our neighborhood outside of a feast.

    The emergency response red herring has been debunked several times, but a traffic clogged street is difficult for fire trucks to drive down with our without curb side dining. If we were actually concerned about emergency responses, then we would close Hanover and Salem to all but residents and deliveries, like Waltham has done with Moody Street (which ordinarily has 15,000 vehicles drive down it each day).

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