Business Featured Food & Drink

2021 Outdoor Dining Pilot Program Will Bring Tables Back to the Streets

The City of Boston has announced the launch of an outdoor dining pilot program for the 2021 season, beginning April 1, 2021 and continuing through December 1, 2021, weather permitting.

The program will build on initiatives from this year’s program, such as streamlined permitting and outdoor patios on roadways that enable restaurants with narrow sidewalks to offer patio seating to patrons, as well as offer new features based on community feedback.

Applications for outdoor dining licenses on both public and private property are now open and can be accessed here:

The initial deadline for licensees to submit an application is January 18, 2021. Applicants who meet this deadline will receive a decision or follow-up questions from the City by February 19, 2021. Applications will still be accepted after January 18 and will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

Restaurants who took part in the 2020 temporary outdoor dining program and who wish to do so in 2021 must re-apply. The City will also be accepting applications from restaurants who did not take part in the 2020 program.

There will be virtual application help sessions to assist restaurants in preparing and submitting their applications. The first session is scheduled for Wednesday, December 16 at 5:00 pm. Registration is required.

The following changes have been/will be made based on public feedback from the 2020 program:

  • Moving the application process to another online platform where businesses can track the status of their applications for more transparency
  • Additional time built into the process, so that restaurants can procure proper materials and plan for operations that will include an outdoor dining space 
  • Clear guidance for outdoor dining on public and private property that will be available in both English and Spanish, with other languages available upon request.
  • Consistent enforcement that will focus on ensuring licensees adhere to all requirements issued by the City to ensure outdoor dining is safe and enjoyable 
  • 1:1 assistance for restaurant owners who require support and/or translation of the online application 


5 Replies to “2021 Outdoor Dining Pilot Program Will Bring Tables Back to the Streets

  1. Great news very deserving only catch is when there’s another special thing god willing it comes back the “Feasts” for August I say just eliminate weekends otherwise this should succeed.

  2. I felt that this would be permanent from the beginning. The City ceded public property to private enterprise. Like feeding the Bears once started can’t return to the public. Will this be available to resident? Can I fense off the sidewalk in front of my place and turn it into my own private patio?

  3. “Hibernation” The big question is how many restaurants will be able to survive especially if there isn’t a stimulus deal passed. The virus is not going anywhere any time soon. There’s a couple of owners
    that have the capitol to survive and are going to get their wish and monopolize all the restaurant business in the NE.

  4. Have they been able to trace back any outbreaks to casual dining in restaurants? I know barrooms have a bad record, due to crowds drinking and not controlling themselves. Then there are large gatherings. However, the restaurants that I have been to have been to are very careful. When politicians get involved, they mainly want a scapegoat to blame for their missteps. With all the contact traces that are done, have they been able to establish a bad industry, or just a few bad actors?

  5. A great case in point, Councilor Michele Wu stated in today’s Globe that they should all be shutdown. No statistics, no facts other than the number of cases have been on the rise since Labor Day and the start of school. How about everyone is tired of listening to flagging politicians and no one really gives a hoot what she says.

Comments are closed.