The town has announced that the temporary outdoor dining license application for expanded outdoor dining is now available for Arlington restaurants.
The move follows the Select Board’s June 1 approval of the Arlington Economic Development Recovery Task Force’s recommendations for expanded outdoor seating and curbside pickup for restaurants and retail shops.
An interdepartmental team of town officials collaborated to establish expedited application processes, internal review and issue approvals to allow for expanded use of public spaces for outdoor dining.
In aditional, restaurants and retail business owners will have the opportunity to request up to two dedicated 15-minute curbside pickup parking spots.
How to seek applications
The Select Board’s office will be issuing approvals for temporary extensions on public and private property. Applications, which can be submitted at arlingtonma.gov/permits, will be reviewed and approved on a rolling basis.
Ali Carter, economic-development coordinator, is conducting outreach to Arlington’s small business community to encourage restaurants to apply for this program.
Data collected through the Arlington Consumer Survey indicate broad community support for this program.
Of the 1,354 respondents to the survey, 68 percent indicated that they do not anticipate dining inside for at least a month or more, and 89 percent supported continuing curbside pickup options continue as the Covid-19 crisis proceeds. Just over 84 percent reported that they were more likely or much more likely to shop or dine at a small business if there were more options for outdoor dining or shopping.
“The town is committed to doing everything possible to ensure the safety of residents and visitors during this phased reopening. We’re exploring creative solutions, like expanded sidewalk seating, conversion of on-street parking spaces and 15-minute curbside parking, so that businesses that don’t currently have outdoor dining areas won’t be left out of the reopening,” said Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine in a June 15 news release.
“Our restaurants and businesses are a vital part of the Arlington community, and they’ve been hit hard by the pandemic. We want to support them and their patrons so that owners, employees, and visitors alike can safely enjoy Arlington’s commercial districts as we reopen.”
The application process for outdoor seating opened June 15. Applications must be accompanied by a site plan for outdoor seating, along with proof of insurance. Restaurant owners can apply using an application form online or by submitting a printed application.
An interdepartmental team of town staff will review applications and forward approved proposals to the Select Board office, which will issue temporary outdoor dining licenses. Once restaurants have applied and received approval, they can begin outdoor service on the sidewalks adjacent to their storefront or in the public parking spaces outside their establishment immediately.
Additionally, restaurants and retail business owners will have the opportunity to request up to two dedicated 15-minute curbside pickup parking spots. The town will review these applications and designate these parking spots by June 22,2020.
Following Massachusetts’ reopening regulations, outdoor dining tables and chairs must be a minimum six feet apart, and tables cannot seat more than six people. Workers must wear face coverings, and patrons must wear face coverings until they are seated. In locations with parklet dining, the town requires separation between the travel lane and the dining area to protect diners.
Restaurants must also identify accessible pathways along the sidewalks for pedestrian travel. Indoor dining is not yet allowed per the State’s requirements.
The expanded outdoor dining and curbside parking programs are the latest in a series of programs the town has initiated to support Arlington businesses. These programs include relaxed signage regulations, suspension of parking fees, a public database of open businesses in Arlington that is updated on a daily basis to reflect information submitted by business owners, and the development of the Economic Development Recovery Task Force.
Financial support for small businesses impacted by the pandemic is available through Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds, for which the application period opened on Monday, June 15, as well as through the Covid-19 relief fund. Information about these programs and additional guidance can be found at arlingtonma.gov/Covid19assistance.
This news announcement was published Monday, June 15, 2020.
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