Brookline announces a pilot program to extend outdoor dining this winter

The program will end on March 31, 2021.

Restaurant in winter
Brookline announces a Winter Outdoor Dining Pilot Program. Photo by GEORGES GOBET/AFP via Getty Images

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The City of Boston ended its outdoor dining program on Dec. 1, but Brookline isn’t ready to say goodbye to patios just yet.

On Tuesday, the town revealed a Winter Outdoor Dining Pilot Program, which will allow eligible restaurants to offer outdoor dining through March 31, 2021.

In a letter to Brookline business owners, the town shared that the pilot program will give Brookline restaurants that had already received approval from the town’s Extended Outdoor Dining Temporary Licensing Program the opportunity to continue outdoor dining service through the winter. Restaurants interested in participating will need to provide a statement of intent, an updated certificate of liability insurance, a certificate of liquor liability insurance, and written approval from abutting businesses or property owners.


Restaurants with outdoor dining on public sidewalks will need to remove all furniture in the event of inclement weather, while restaurants with outdoor dining in public parking spaces must secure their area with concrete jersey barriers, which will be provided and installed by the town.

“We will be using the pilot program,” said Ran Duan, who runs Brookline’s Blossom Bar and Ivory Pearl. “We hope with this [program] leading into spring, we will get the outdoor bump during March.”

The town also identified a number of other pilot programs that it will implement or continue over the winter. A pop-up tent pilot program will allow businesses to request canopies or tents for customers who are waiting outside on the sidewalk. The tents must be properly secured, and all participating businesses must submit a certificate of liability insurance to the Department of Public Works in order to participate. A sandwich board pilot program, which ran earlier this year, will also extend through March 31, allowing restaurants and stores to place sandwich boards on the sidewalk to help communicated with customers and promote their business. In March 2020, Brookline instituted designated 15-minute delivery/pick-up only parking spaces to help support restaurants’ takeout and delivery operations; this has also been extended to March 31.


Boston Mayor Marty Walsh recently announced Boston’s own Outdoor Dining Pilot Program, which aims to launch on April 1. Through it, Boston restaurants will be able to apply for an outdoor dining license extension, enabling them to set up patios on sidewalks and in parking spaces. The program will run through Dec. 31, 2021.

Brookline businesses interested in learning more about the 2020-2021 Winter Outdoor Dining Pilot Program are invited to attend a virtual town hall on January 7 at 9 a.m. A complete list of program guidelines can be found here.

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