With the expiration of pandemic related outdoor dining allowances in Massachusetts looming on April 1, the town and island restaurants are looking ahead to preserve one of the few silver linings to come out of the COVID-19 experience.
The Select Board will hold a series of public hearings tonight to set the table for what outdoor dining on Nantucket will look like during the summer of 2023. First up will be a decision on whether the town will continue to issue permits for the use of town property for sidewalk dining.
If the Select Board votes to approve the issuance of permits, along with terms, conditions, and fees, then the island restaurant establishments that have previously utilized public sidewalks for dining will then be required to apply for an alteration of premises license to both the town and the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC).
Previous conditions on sidewalk dining include restrictions on time of service (8 a.m. to 10 p.m.), no entertainment allowed, maintain the public way and monitoring for trash, along with fees ranging from $500 to $2,500 depending upon the scale and level of service.
“If they (the Select Board) vote to approve the permits and the terms and conditions as presented, including fees, then those establishments that have been serving on sidewalks may apply for alteration of premises on April 12,” town licensing administrator Amy Baxter told the Current.
But a number of establishments have been utilizing their own private property for outdoor dining, and those restaurants have already submitted applications to continue seating customers outdoors. Those applications will be heard tonight, and include the following restaurants:
- Kitty Murtaugh’s
- The Charlie Noble
- The Proprietors
- Slip 14
- Bar Yoshi (request to be heard in April)
The Select Board will vote individually on each of those license requests, and as Baxter noted, “there will be more of those in the coming months.”