North End restaurant owners called to mandatory emergency hearing for outdoor dining complaints

North End restaurants called to attend mandatory emergency hearing

BOSTON — Boston’s Licensing Board has called on every North End restaurant to attend a “mandatory emergency informational hearing” on Wednesday afternoon.

The required virtual meeting, which will take place at 2 p.m., is in response to “dozens of complaints” regarding the new outdoor seating outside the neighborhood’s restaurants.

A city spokesperson told Boston 25 News that 45 complaints have come into the 311 line.

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The complaints include claims of lack of social distancing at some North End restaurants, pets on patios, smoking and loud music.

In an online post, Boston’s Licensing Board threatens that any restaurant that does not participate in the mandatory meeting will be penalized with “IMMEDIATE REVOCATION” of outdoor dining privileges.

“We’ve noticed some people aren’t socially distancing with their tables while others are. Is it because of a problem or a lack of understanding?” questioned Boston City Councilor Lydia Edwards.

Edwards said the meeting should be looked at as a “a good thing” in the city’s commitment to supporting a vibrant restaurant scene during a pandemic.

“I think it’s important that the city take this leadership role and use the fact that they gave out these licenses to also use it an opportunity to pull people in and talk,” explained Edwards.

Rich Ansara, owner of Tresca on Hanover Street, told Boston 25 News he has no problem with attending the meeting. He said he hopes those who have been following the rules won’t be punished.

“Everybody should be abiding by the rules and regulations and not mess it up for the rest of us,” said Ansara. “I don’t feel it’s right. It’s not fair to the rest of us who are doing the right thing.”

Edwards said the city is also interested in hearing feedback from business owners about their experiences so far.

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