DEDHAM — Town Manager Leon Goodwin is pleased to share that the Town of Dedham has extended outdoor dining through the end of next month as a way to help local businesses dealing with the adverse effects of COVID-19.
The Dedham Select Board voted last month to extend outdoor dining to Nov. 30, with the possibility of extending it further, weather permitting. As part of outdoor dining regulations, establishments are required to meet with and seek the appropriate approvals from the Fire Department, Building Department and Department of Public Works for heating devices and tents/coverings.
Local businesses and restaurants have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and the related regulations put forward by the state to lower the number of guests allowed to dine at restaurants. With the loss of bar space and indoor seating many restaurants have survived off of takeout and outdoor seating over the summer and into the fall.
“It is crucial that we support our local dining establishments in any way we can as they struggle to make ends meet during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” Town Manager Goodwin said. “We encourage our residents to dine at their favorite local restaurants, including those that are still offering outdoor seating options.”
Local restaurant owners are praising the Town and the Select Board for their commitment to small businesses through the extension of outdoor seating. Many owners are calling it a lifesaver to their restaurants.
“The Town of Dedham allowed restaurants to build patio seating in places that were previously not designated as outdoor dining areas, and as soon as outdoor dining was approved we constructed our own patio,” said Jocelyn Our, of Brickhouse Café on Bridge Street. “This was a lifesaver for us. I’m not sure we would still be open without the Select Board allowing us to build outdoor seating.”
With the cold weather on the way and the possibility of outdoor dining being extended beyond Nov. 30, many owners are starting to buy outdoor heaters and tents to continue to offer outdoor seating well into the winter.
“We acquired heaters and stanchions, and some décor. Our staff is trained specifically for outdoor patio service, different variables with weather elements, distance between kitchen and table, and communication with customers,” said Laurence Wintersteen, of Horse Thieves Tavern on High Street in Dedham Square. “Outdoor dining has been very helpful. We all hope it is an element that Dedham continues, even long after COVID. It activates the Square and all outdoor Dedham spaces, and helps all restaurants in providing additional seating and amenities, which can be critical in this low-margin business.”
Throughout COVID-19 the Town of Dedham and the Select Board have shown their commitment to the town and local restaurants by approving helpful accommodations to residents and owners.
“It has been an enormous help to Horse Thieves Tavern,” Wintersteen said. “Without Dedham’s commitment to outdoor dining, it would be questionable whether the Tavern would be open right now.”