Podcast: Haverhill Restaurants May Apply Beginning Today for Temporary Outdoor Dining Seating

Haverhill Chamber President and CEO Dougan Sherwood addresses members at Olivia’s restaurant. (WHAV News file photograph.)

When Haverhill restaurants first reopen, it will be with outdoor dining. In fact, today is the first day eateries can apply for outdoor space made available by the city.

Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Dougan Sherwood, appearing recently on WHAV’s morning program, explained the thought process behind outdoor dining following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“What I have heard is that six feet of distance is going to continue to be the standard for distance between tables. But, the city right now and the Chamber have been working very closely with Mayor (James J.) Fiorentini, Council President (Melinda E.) Barrett and a number of others and also the restaurant community at large, to make sure that by June 8, which is the earliest it could happen, that we’re hitting the ground running.,” he says.

However, Sherwood acknowledged, some restaurants don’t have the ability for outside seating, but the city may be able to help.

“Which is the case for a lot of restaurants, particularly restaurants in downtown. That’s where the mayor is coming in. For example, sidewalks are public property, so the mayor has some authority over how we can put them in place, of course respecting ADA and other points of compliance,” he adds.

Sherwood says the conversation has been going on for some time in trying to figure out the best, and safest way, to extend the ability for restaurants to have more seats and tables outside. As of today, Haverhill restaurants can apply online at cityofhaverhill.com for temporary outdoor seating. Outdoor areas opened by the city must close by 10 p.m., Sunday through Thursday, and by 11, Friday and Saturday nights.

Following up on a story reported earlier by WHAV, Sherwood reports that the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce is serious about Haverhill having a good federal census response rate and is teaming up with Community Action and the Mount Washington Alliance to promote census compliance in an area of the city that is often under-reported.

(CUT: SHERWOOD-we’re giving.wav)  “We’re giving families five bucks a head for the people in their household, and if they fill out their census, and they show us a simple picture that proves that they filled it out, then they’re going to get a gift card, for $5 per person in their household to a local supermarket or local bodega, and it’s that simple.)

Sherwood says the Chamber census incentive program is limited to four people per household, and will continue until the special fund is exhausted.

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