Haverhill City Council Signs Off on Outdoor Dining Plan for Restaurants

Haverhill City Hall. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Phase two of the state’s COVID-19 reopening plan is less than a week away and area restaurants are anxious to start serving customers again.

To that end, the City Council, last night, approved a temporary plan regulating outdoor dining in Haverhill. The plan, which was developed in consultation with several local restaurant owners, addresses guidelines for acceptable physical distancing for customers and employees.

Under these guidelines, eligible businesses will be allowed to expand seating into off-street parking logs, sidewalks, boardwalks and other areas

In order to institute outdoor dining an establishment needs to fill out an application, which Mayor James J. Fiorentini says is available now on the city website, cityofhaverhill.com.

“Now if they don’t serve alcohol, it’s really simple. Inspectional services goes down. We’ll inspect to makes certain that they are properly socially distanced. The tables have to be six feet apart, make certain that it is safe. Assuming that all of those things are met, they’ll get a permit on the spot. That’s all there is to it,” he said.

If a business does serve alcohol, state guidelines require them to be approved by the License Commission which, the mayor said, will review the application within five days.

In the end, the council passed the plan by a vote of 8-0 with Councilor Michael S. McGonagle absent.

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