City of Somerville

Agenda Item

Requesting approval of an Order to not require this Council's authorization pursuant to Ordinance 12-14 for businesses seeking outdoor food and beverage service on the public way through November 1, 2020.


Department:SPCD AdministrationSponsors:
Category:Mayor's RequestPurposes:Ordinance

Official Text

To the Honorable City Council:


I am requesting your approval of this order that will simplify the review of outdoor dining establishments through November 2020, in the effort to permit restaurants to operate outside during the COVID-19 pandemic.


I have also attached the recommendations of the Restaurant Working Group that has been working with the administration to safely reopen outdoor restaurants with limitations to protect the public from COVID-19.


My staff will be available to answer questions at the meeting on June 11th.


Respectfully submitted,

Joseph A. Curtatone, Mayor

Meeting History

Jun 11, 2020 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
draft Draft

Councilor White said the Council currently approved outdoor seating on public ways, and if a business serves alcohol, they must also gain approval from the Licensing Commission. The Administration now requests a temporary waiver of Ordinance 12-14 to allow the Licensing Commission to authorize outdoor seating on public ways for restaurants that wish to serve food and drink outdoors during the pandemic. This would simplify and speed the approval process. Councilor Ewen-Campen supported the request, as did Councilor Rossetti. She said she'd like the proposed limit of November 1 to be extended to December 31, 2020. Licensing Commission Chairman Joe Lynch testified that the Governor set his temporary order to expire on November 1, when authority would revert to the Council. He noted that the Commission would not issue alcohol licenses to businesses that do not currently have an alcoholic beverage license. Mr. Lynch said the Commission would work with the Council to help the restaurant industry and protect the public, and would issue violations to businesses who violate their license.

AYES:Wilfred N. Mbah, Mary Jo Rossetti, Kristen Strezo, William A. White Jr., Matthew McLaughlin, Jefferson Thomas ("J.T.") Scott, Ben Ewen-Campen, Jesse Clingan, Mark Niedergang, Lance L. Davis, Katjana Ballantyne