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2022 Temporary Outdoor Dining Program

Small businesses and restaurants will be able to apply for a single-season, 2022-only (temporary) license extension for outdoor dining.

You can find information about how to apply below.

Map of outdoor dining locations

Map of Outdoor Dining Locations

View a map of outdoor dining locations approved for 2022 in Boston.
Show Map

2022 Outdoor Dining Important Dates

Important 2022 Temporary Outdoor Dining program dates in the City of Boston are as follows:

Applications will be available starting Tuesday, February 22, 2022, on a rolling basis. Please note: There are new guidelines to the program this year. Please allow the team at least two weeks for review.

The temporary outdoor dining start date for the 2022 season is Friday, April 1, 2022, until December 2022.  The exact end date is to be determined. The North End will have an adjusted time frame. These dates may be amended at any time.

*Applicant must receive approval by the Outdoor Dining team prior to deployment and operation of the temporary extension.

Future of Outdoor Dining

On April 1, 2022, the Governor's extension of the COVID-19 Order No. 50 will be lifted. This order relaxed restrictions in the outdoor dining process during the COVID pandemic in 2020 and 2021. On April 1, 2022, the Governor signed a bill extended the temporary outdoor dining for one more year.

The City is still evaluating the permanent program process and taking steps to streamline it. Please continue to check back for new updates, as the steps and requirements may change. If you are interested in sharing any feedback about outdoor dining, please reach out to us at outdoordining@boston.gov. We currently have information on how to apply for permanent outdoor dining on private property:

Private property outdoor dining

Required Informational Sessions

Info sessions will be held exclusively via Zoom and all applicants must register and participate in order to be considered for the 2022 season. Applicants can register for the meetings online.

View info session presentation

Meeting dates
  • Monday, February 28, at 4 p.m.
  • Thursday, March 3, at 4 p.m.
  • Friday, March 4, at 12 p.m.
  • Tuesday, March 8, at 9 a.m.
  • Wednesday, March 9, at 3 p.m. 
  • Monday, March 14 at 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, March 17 at 10 a.m. 
  • Tuesday, March 22, at 11 a.m.
  • Wednesday, April 6, at 11 a.m.

If you are unable to attend one of these sessions, please contact OutdoorDining@boston.gov

Before you apply

BEFORE YOU APPLY

1. Only a licensed premise may apply for a temporary outdoor dining permit. A licensed premise is defined as a premise licensed by the City's Licensing Board holding a valid Common Victualler (on-premise food consumption) license or alcoholic beverage license.

2. Please read the guidance for the extension onto outdoor private and public property (sample documents and pictures included) before starting your application. If you are approved but your deployed temporary extension does not follow the guidelines, we may revoke your permit.

2022 guidance for outdoor dining

3. Attend the mandatory informational session.

Please note:

Were you approved during the 2021 temporary outdoor dining program? It's not guaranteed that you will be approved for the same setup in 2022. We will review applications based on several factors. These factors include:

  • feedback from 2021
  • scheduled street and construction work, and
  • new guidelines for the temporary program.

How to apply

    SUBMITTING YOUR APPLICATION

    Multiple City departments need to review applications for an outdoor dining extension, whether onto private property, public sidewalks, or public streets. This is to make sure any extensions can be done while keeping patrons and employees safe.

    After you review the information in the "Before you apply" section, please complete the application:

    2022 outdoor dining application

    For technical assistance on submitting the application, please review this document which includes the step-by-step guidance as well as a helpful video:

    Application Step by Step Guide

    Please note:

    The review process may take up to two weeks. Any approval will be made on a single-season, non-precedent setting basis. If you are approved, you must abide by all rules, regulations, laws, advisories, and guidelines issued by the City, state, and federal government. The City assumes no responsibility, financial or otherwise, for rentals or purchases made for the temporary patio extensions.

    All of the foregoing may be amended or revoked by the respective agencies at any time. 

    Application support

    Support

    We are offering free one-on-one support for licensees who need translation or other help in filling out the 2022 outdoor dining application. If you would like to request support, please reach out to outdoordining@boston.gov.

    Common questions

    Common questions

    If I was approved for outdoor seating during the 2021 temporary program, do I need to re-apply for 2022?

    Yes. Licensees who were approved during the 2021 temporary program will need to re-apply to participate in the 2022 season. This applies to extensions on public property and on private property as there are new guidelines for the temporary program this year.

    I would like to request an extension on private and public property? How do I go about doing that?

    You will need to complete an online application and select both private property and public property in the application.

    What happens if a review of my application determines that neither the sidewalk or the parking lane is feasible?

    The Board will suggest that you find a non-contiguous space which you can apply for through the Special One-day application. There is no fee for this application for the temporary outdoor extension, with the exception of Beer Gardens with capacities over 150 persons.

    Where can I submit a complaint?

    You may submit a complaint through the Mayor's 3-1-1 Hotline.

    How do I get "no parking" signs for my approved parking lane extension?

    If you are approved for the parking lane, you may contact your neighborhood liaison to obtain the "no parking" signs for your extension.

    Who is enforcing the rules of the outdoor seating?

    The Licensing Board are enforcing the rules on outdoor seating with the assistance of:

    • the Boston Police
    • Transportation Department
    • Health Department, and
    • the Public Improvement Commission.

    All restaurants with outdoor seating (approved and non-approved) will have on-site inspections throughout the extension period.

    Those with immediate public safety hazards will be asked to cease operations immediately until the public safety concern has been rectified. Issues that are not considered a public safety hazard will be given 48 hours to rectify the issue.

    What are the hours of operation? 

    • Sunday through Thursday: 9:30 p.m. (Patrons out by 10:00 p.m.)
    • Friday through Saturday: 10:30 p.m. (Patrons out by 11:00 p.m.)

    Does the City have barriers that we can use?

    No. The City is not providing barriers at this time.

    Does the City have ADA compliant accessible ramps that we can use?

    Please indicate in the online application that you need help procuring a ramp. You may also reach out to the Disabilities Commission

    What is the policy on masks?

    Please stay up to date with the State and City of Boston COVID-19 guidelines. As of February 18, 2022, the indoor mask mandate is still in effect. 

    Can we play music?

    Entertainment of any sort is not permitted on single-season, 2022-only outdoor extensions at this time. Licensed premises who hold an annual entertainment license that permits entertainment specifically on the patio are permitted entertainment. 

    How far do the tables have to be?

    There should be a minimum of three (3) feet between each table to allow for accessibility.

    I already have a permanent patio. Do I still need to apply for this license?

    If you have been approved for a patio, you will not need to apply for this temporary extension. This permanent patio should be licensed by the Licensing Board on the Common Victualler / Alcohol Beverage license, Inspectional Services on the Inspection Certificate, and if applicable, the Boston Fire Department on the Assembly permit.

    However, if you would like to expand your existing patio further or use other spaces that have not been approved by the Board, then you will need to apply.

    Can I serve alcohol on my approved extension?

    If you currently hold a license to sell beer, wine, malts, or liquor then yes, you may serve this on your contiguous extension. However, if your extension is non-contiguous, with the approval of the Special One-day permits, you may only serve beer and malt beverages. Please note there are restrictions for Special One-day permits.

    What does a 'contiguous' extension mean?

    Contiguous is defined as land adjoining or touching by common corner or otherwise.

    If I am requesting an extension across the street, is that allowed?

    It may be permitted with the approval of the reviewer team, on a case-by-case basis. However, spaces across from the licensed premise is considered non-contiguous and would require a Special One-day permit.

    What size is permitted for my extension?

    For on-street requests, the maximum length is 32 feet and the width is 7.5 feet from the curb to traffic lane.

    For sidewalk requests, applicants are permitted their frontage and may be permitted further if letters from abutters are submitted. 

    More detail is available on the guidance.

    What type of barriers are permitted?

    For on-street requests, only concrete jersey barriers or water filled barriers are permitted. 

    For sidewalk requests, barriers should be cane detectable such as planters. Stanchions are not permitted. 

    More detail is available on the guidance.

    Can a retail package malt and wine grocery store apply for outdoor extension?

    No, they may not.

    Can we use couches on our outdoor extension?

    Couches are not permitted.

    Can we use heaters on the outdoor patios?

    Please review the guidance for more information.

    Heaters may be allowed on outdoor patios with approval from the Boston Fire Department and Inspectional Services Department with a Temporary Heater Permit. A permit is required for both private and public property. Applicants may apply on the Fire Prevention permitting portal. Click here to see how you can apply. Once the application intake and special hazard review are approved, an inspector from the Special Hazards Unit will conduct a site visit. All permits applied for online will be paid for online and the customer will be able to print their permit.  

    There will be no storing of propane permitted inside any buildings. Propane cylinders may not be stored in the temporary heaters overnight. Temporary heaters must be stored away properly and locked together in a safe area of the property which has been approved by the Boston Fire Department's Special Hazard Unit.

    This is the list of requirements needed to apply correctly:

    • The number of heaters, propane cylinders, and size of the cylinder (maximum size of cylinder 20 pounds, for example, same-size propane tank used for outdoor grills).
    • Attach the specification (spec) sheets of the heater and the spec sheet for the approved propane storage cage, cabinet, or locker, that will be used onsite.
    • Need to have a steel propane cage, cabinet, or locker that locks to store the propane when the heaters are not being used.
    • Attach a site plan showing the patio layout with the location of where the temporary heaters and where the storage cage will be located.

    Note: Hard-piping is not permitted if heaters are located on public property, such as the sidewalk or a parking lane. They would need to be movable tanks. In addition, fuel tanks may not be stored overnight on public property. Fuel tanks cannot block any door or egress.

    If you have any other questions or concerns, you can reach out to Fire Department's Special Hazards Unit at 617-343-3447 or email Jenelle Finnerty: jenelle.finnerty@boston.gov.

    Electric Heaters: Portable electric heaters are allowed, provided that cords do not impede egress not pose any other safety risk. You may use electric heaters without a permit from the City. The City is temporarily allowing one cord to run across the public realm (for example, a sidewalk) with the following conditions: 

    • Covered by sturdy plastic casings
    • Secured firmly to the ground (no drilling or other surface penetrations)
    • High visibility and high contrast in color
    • Low profile in height
    • Cords and covers shall be removed from the sidewalk when the seating is not in use
    • No more than one cord crossing the sidewalk per restaurant (an extension cord may be used in the dining area to allow for more electric heaters; cords must be safely secured to prevent patrons from tripping)

    Are animals allowed on the patios?

    Animals are not permitted on the outdoor extensions, per health code and state law, with the exception of certified service dogs for persons with disabilities (physical or sensory). Emotional support dogs are NOT permitted on the patio. Generally, service animals must be harnessed, leashed, or tethered, unless such devices interfere with the animal's work or the customer's disability. Restaurant staff may ask if a dog is used for a disability and will have to trust the patron's word.

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