Outdoor Dining Returning This SpringMar 05, 2021 02:08PM ● By Michele Taranto
While outdoor dining last year was basically forced upon restaurants and their patrons in order to adhere to indoor COVID health regulations, it rejuvenated the thrill of the al-fresco experience, an option often reserved for tables with water views. Norwood residents embraced the change and restaurant owners revamped their dining rooms onto parking lots and town sidewalks.
As the warmer weather approaches, Selectmen addressed the necessary accommodations again with Norwood Town Manager Tony Mazzucco at the February 9 meeting. In order for local diners to eat to under Norwood’s sunny and starry skies, restaurant owners are encouraged to notify town officials of their intentions to offer these services in 2021.
“They [restaurant owners] need to have their license formally approved and extended and they may want to start that process,” Mazzucco said. “Some in March may want to get outside.”
While indoor occupancy restrictions made it difficult for restaurants to even break even in 2020, the Massachusetts State Legislature, under Economic Development Bills, gave easements on state bylaws to the town levels and Mazzucco is hoping this year Norwood will again be able to license and assist local businesses.
“We would certainly hope the legislature would have the wisdom to do something along those lines again,” Mazzucco said. Under current state emergency guidelines, it has been pretty easy for us to do [license] and if the state changes that, it is much more complicated process and a much more administrative headache.”
Last year, many local residents were able to enjoy a change of scenery after being locked away in their homes with the creation of ‘Summer on Central’. Central St., between Cottage St. E. and Nahatan St., was closed off and transformed into a charming pedestrian zone equipped with picnic tables, chairs, umbrellas, and artificial grass. At any time during the day, it was utilized for a wide range of uses, from informal meetings, to morning coffee, lunch, and even an occasional ice indulgence. Norwood residents will be happy to hear that plans are underway to provide that welcoming destination to grab a few rays as they emerge from the cold, snowy winter.
“We are looking forward to a return of Central St. sometime in the April time frame once we are certain we are through the winter and all the snow is melted,” Mazzucco said.