Saturday, July 13, 2024

Street dining such as Pammy’s has set up in Mid-Cambridge will be allowed past Nov. 1. (Photo: Marc Levy)

Outdoor dining in Cambridge has been extended at least into the winter, city officials announced Friday, taking action after Gov. Charlie Baker gave cities and towns the ability to extend past an initial Nov. 1 deadline. (In the language of the order, outdoor dining in Cambridge is allowed until 60 days after whenever Massachusetts’ state of emergency is declared over.)

Officials have been meeting with the business and restaurant communities to “plan for what a four-season outdoor dining experience will look like,” according to a Friday press release.

“Our goal is to allow establishments to keep their outdoor patio dining operating for as long as they want to and if weather permits. We plan to allow outdoor dining year-round,” City Manager Louis A. DePasquale said. “There may be periods this winter when the weather will require us to suspend the program temporarily.”

A team from the city, along with representatives from Cambridge business associations and the restaurant community, will keep meeting to work out a plan for winter, according to the press release. A process is being developed to handle street dining agreements “as quickly as possible,” which city officials said would be in place within days.

On Monday, the License Commission voted unanimously to extend all issued permits for outdoor dining areas automatically. Establishments that have not applied for an outdoor dining extension still can.

Cambridge was slow to let restaurants expand dining onto sidewalks and into the streets when coronavirus made indoor dining impossible.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has impacted our local restaurants tremendously, and outdoor dining has been a saving grace,” Mayor Sumbul Siddiqui said. “Expanding the length of time restaurants can operate outdoor dining is an important move. It’s one way we can make sure our restaurants continue generating revenue into the winter months.”