Newton to expand street food service, mayor says

Newton’s mayor said Monday the city will expand outdoor dining options as part of efforts to reopen the state and local economy as the coronavirus outbreak wanes in Massachusetts.

Restaurants will be allowed to serve customers at tables set up in street parking spaces in front of their businesses, Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said in a statement.

“This next phase of Newton Al Fresco, allowing tables in street parking spots, helps restaurants stay in business with more options for where to serve meals,” Fuller said in the statement.

Safety is “a priority,” Fuller said: Protective barriers are needed along the sides of outdoor dining areas that face the street. Restaurants will be required to provide movable access ramps to assist customers with mobility issues.

“Protective barriers can be expensive, but they are necessary. We are working hard to provide as much of this safety equipment as possible for restaurants to use, free of charge, on a first-come, first-served basis,” Fuller said.

The city is also applying for a grant from the state Department of Transportation to purchase more traffic safety equipment, including ramps, protective planters and flower pots, she said.

Guidelines for reopening restaurants in Newton have been posted online by the city.

Newton officials previously allowed restaurants to serve diners at tables on sidewalks and in private parking lots, as well as at city-provided picnic tables.

According to a separate message from Fuller included in the city’s restaurant reopening guidelines, 24 picnic tables have been set up in eight of the city’s village centers.

John Hilliard can be contacted at [email protected]

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