Restaurants still face reopening challenges despite outdoor dining capabilities in Phase 2

BOSTON — Sit-down dining is open for most places, though there are still some hurdles for restaurants that do not already have outdoor patios.

In the heart of Boston, the sun was shining down on day one of outdoor sit-down dining service. It was already bumping inside Stillwater's kitchen and Head Chef Sarah Wade was excited to see her 30 available tables filing up.

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"We're happy there is something going on, we're happy there are guests here," Chef Sarah said.

Rebecca D'Andrea and Brandon Stoddard were the first guests on Monday morning just before noon.

"It feels good to have people make food for us," D'Andrea said.

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"It was nice to see that it was as comfortable as possible," Stoddard added.

In the North End, one of Boston's best restaurant neighborhoods, owners were navigating permit problems. Maurizio Badolato showed Boston 25 News his back patio that he's hoping to service guests on, but he's still waiting for final permitting.

Badolato said he filed his permit request weeks ago.

"We applied a month ago and they are supposed to make it easy for us,” he said. “I mean we are ready. Everyone is ready."

The city said that they were awaiting the state's guidelines for restaurant reopening and are now processing hundreds of permit requests. Outdoor patios on private property, the city says, take longer because they have a closer examination process.

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The city also said it is waiving all permit fees for the rest of the year.

Boston is going to allow the use of sidewalks and parking lanes for outdoor dining. But Badolato says he got blindsided there too. Construction began on his sidewalk on Monday, the day the governor started Phase 2 for restaurants to reopen.

“How long do we need to wait? I mean how long?” Badolato asked. “I feel like crying honestly.”

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