The Town of Dedham has established a plan to support restaurants as they navigate the new requirements to open safely and get back to business, and have implemented the first change: over the weekend, picnic tables and trash barrels were installed in some public spaces across town to provide residents additional places to enjoy takeout from local restaurants and the season’s good weather.
“We recognize the stress that our restaurants are facing to balance customer demand with health and safety requirements and want to ensure they are successful as possible,” said Town Manager Leon Goodwin. “This is one of many initiatives to help residents and businesses cope with the challenges of operating during the coronavirus outbreak.”
Residents will find community picnic tables at locations such as Oakdale Commons (Oakdale Street), Condon Park (Bussey Street), Town Hall (Bryant Street), Dedham Square Crossing (under Rt 1 overpass on High Street) and Franklin Square (near main Library.)
The Health Department and Department of Public Works encourage residents to bring their own sanitizer, wear masks if they are in close proximity to others and dispose of trash in the barrels provided.
Dedham’s effort is similar to those occurring across the country, as towns and cities look to repurpose streets and parking areas to support economic activity and provide more space for recreation within social distancing guidelines.
In Dedham, the Planning Board, Select Board, and Board of Health recently held a forum to brainstorm ways to offer relief to businesses that wish to expand their restaurant service or retail sales to sidewalks and even streets. The boards are working on ways to expedite applications for businesses that want to apply for outdoor dining permits and other modifications. This week the Planning and Select Boards will hold a joint meeting to review applications from several restaurants seeking to rework their operations to meet the Governor’s guidelines for reopening. On Monday, June 1, Governor Baker issued an executive order granting the Select Board the authority to approve requests from alcohol licensees to expand licensed premises for outdoor seating in an expedited process. The Governor’s action together with the efforts of Dedham’s boards will make it easier for local businesses to offer expanded outdoor service for a temporary period.
Small businesses with ideas for creative use of outdoor space are encouraged to contact John Sisson, Dedham’s Economic Development Director at [email protected].
“The Select Board, Planning Board, and Board of Health have all expressed a commitment to working with businesses and decreasing bureaucracy,” Sisson said. “I certainly hope businesses will reach out with creative ideas – we’re prepared to do everything we can to help them succeed.”