Outdoor Dining to Return to Back Bay on March 22

Numerous Back Bay restaurants are expected to take advantage of the City of Boston’s 2021 outdoor dining program set to begin on March 22. This is an earlier start than the previously-announced date of April 1.

Last year the restaurants that dot the neighborhood received a special permit from the city that allowed them to set up outdoor patios on roadways and sidewalks throughout the neighborhood. The program helped restaurants increase capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic while keeping customers and staff safe.

Last year, Back Bay restaurants along Newbury and Boylston Street took part in the city’s successful outdoor dining pilot program.

With the success of last year’s program Mayor Martin Walsh said the city will continue many of the successful initiatives from last year’s program, such as streamlined permitting. Applications for outdoor dining licenses on both public and private property are now open, and businesses can apply online at the city’s website.

“Outdoor dining was one of the bright spots last summer and fall, and we’ve seen the benefits it has had on our neighborhoods: supporting local businesses, a safe and enjoyable experience for restaurant patrons, and an added resource for Boston’s small businesses during this challenging time,” said Mayor Walsh. “I’m thrilled we are able to start this program even earlier, and I look forward to businesses and residents taking advantage of it.”

The Mayor said the city has also focused on providing resources to businesses of color, and has made more than 200 personalized outreach calls to every business that applied for outdoor dining last year. The Mayor’s Office of Economic Development has met with the Boston Black Hospitality Coalition to ensure added technical assistance is available for businesses to apply. Weekly “Help Sessions” were held from December through January to help businesses navigate the pilot process. The City of Boston is also planning to host additional office hours and workshops to help businesses with their applications as needed.

The 2021 Outdoor Dining Pilot Program season for approved restaurants will begin on March 22, 2021, and will end on December 1, 2021, weather permitting. Restaurants that took part in the 2020 temporary outdoor dining program and who wish to do so in 2021 must re-apply, and the City will also be accepting applications from restaurants that did not take part in the 2020 temporary outdoor dining program. Additional information on outdoor dining, and applications for businesses, is available on boston.gov.

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