Haverhill Restaurants May Use Public Spaces Outdoors Until Dec. 1 as Governor Allows 10 to a Table

Wicked Big Cafe and Essex Street Grille are among those restaurants that took advantage of outdoor space for dining during the pandemic. (WHAV News photograph.)

Haverhill restaurants may continue to use outdoor, public spaces for dining until Dec. 1.

The Haverhill City Council voted Tuesday to extend the deadline on outdoor dining while Gov. Charlie Baker said restaurants may also begin seating groups of up to 10 people indoors or outdoors. Haverhill’s outdoor dining was scheduled to end on the first of November, while Baker’s previous limit was six per table. Mayor James J. Fiorentini said the city is looking for ways to keep the restaurants in business, including erecting some big tents.

“The state will now allow them to put in tents that are closed on all four sides. This will give some chance of allowing outdoor dining during cooler weather. The fire department is pre-approving a number of electric heaters that can be used in there,” the mayor said.

Haverhill’s outdoor dining plan passed in June, allowing restaurants to expand seating into off-street parking lots, sidewalks and, in some cases, the street. While this helped keep some businesses afloat over the summer, concern has been building over what will happen when the weather gets colder.

The mayor said the city also has some additional federal money to help local businesses, including restaurants, to buy heaters, put up plastic shielding, purchase air filters and help offset commercial rents.

Councilors passed the proposal by a vote of 8-0 with Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien absent.

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