In recognition of the ongoing and unprecedented challenges facing local businesses, the Town of Brookline has created or extended several initiatives to support Brookline businesses through the winter months of the pandemic:
- Winter Outdoor Dining Pilot Program: To accommodate businesses interested in continuing outdoor dining service through the winter months, the Town is launching a Winter Outdoor Dining Pilot Program, which features enhanced safety requirements for outdoor seating located in parking spaces. Guidelines for this pilot program, which will expire on March 31, 2021, are available here and also attached. Program overview:
- All restaurants continuing outdoor seating through the winter months need to provide a Statement of Intent, an updated certificate of liability insurance, as well as certificate of liquor liability insurance, and written approval from abutting businesses or property owners (if previously required). Please see the Pilot Program Requirements section of the program guidelines for additional details.
- Only restaurants that have secured approval for outdoor seating through the Town’s Extended Outdoor Dining Temporary Licensing Program, which was launched in October 2020, are eligible to participate in this pilot program.
- Restaurants with outdoor dining located on the public sidewalk may continue to provide outdoor seating with the stipulation that all outdoor dining furniture and materials must be temporarily removed from the sidewalk and other parts of the public way in the event of inclement weather. Restaurants should review the Town’s Snow Removal By-Law, Winter Guide for Brookline Property Owners, Businesses, and Residents, as well as the Adequate Maintenance of the Public Way and ADA Accessibility requirements outlined in the 2020-2021 Winter Outdoor Dining Pilot Program Guidelines.
- Restaurants with outdoor dining located in public parking spaces may continue outdoor dining provided that those outdoor dining areas are secured by concrete jersey barriers. Restaurants must move their outdoor dining set-ups in 2 feet towards the curb (as measured from the inside edge of the white parking space markings) to accommodate the installation of concrete jersey barriers. The jersey barriers may not protrude into the travel lane. End cap barriers will be placed in adjacent parking spaces and reduce parking both in front of and behind the outdoor seating areas. The Town is not responsible for any damage caused to or by outdoor seating areas in the public way.
- At no cost to businesses, the Town will provide temporary use, as well as the installation and removal, of concrete jersey barriers. Contact Todd Kirrane, Transportation Administrator, [email protected], to request review of your location and installation of concrete jersey barriers, which are required for participation in the Winter Outdoor Dining Pilot Program.
- Restaurant owners must ensure that all outdoor seating areas remain accessible to the public in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements. This may be accomplished with temporary ramps, access at ground level at the rear of the outdoor seating area, or with an elevated platform.
- The concrete jersey barriers are the property of the Town of Brookline and may not be altered without the written consent of the Town. Requests for any type of alteration should be submitted to Todd Kirrane, Transportation Administrator, [email protected].
- Restaurants that have secured Fire Department approval for temporary use of propane patio heaters through the Liquid Propane Outdoor Heating Pilot Program may continue to use patio heaters in outdoor dining areas for the duration of this pilot program.
- Restaurants must be aware that tents, canopies, and umbrellas do not have designated snow loads and should not be used if there is snow accumulation. Prior to use, all tents, canopies, and umbrellas should be cleared of accumulated snow. Tents, canopies, and umbrellas are also not intended for use in high wind events and should not be in use and in the public way during such events.
- Please contact the Town’s Licensing Clerk, Tiffany Souza, at [email protected] or 617-730-2203 with any questions regarding outdoor dining.
- Pop Up Tent Pilot Program: To provide sheltered customer queuing or waiting areas during the winter months, the Town will approve requests on a case-by-case basis for pop-up canopies or tents located on the sidewalk. Participating restaurants and retailers must submit a certificate of liability insurance to the Department of Public Works (DPW) to participate in this program. Tents or canopies must be properly secured during use and removed from the sidewalk at the close of business each day. Additional program details and requirements are available here.
- Designated 15-Minute Delivery/Pick-Up Only Parking Spaces: 15-minute delivery and pick-up only parking spaces are available to help support Brookline restaurants’ delivery and takeout operations. This initiative, which was first implemented in March 2020, has been extended to March 31, 2021. Contact Meredith L. Mooney, Economic Development Planner, [email protected], to request a delivery only parking sign for your business.
- Sandwich Board Pilot Program: The Town has extended its sandwich board pilot program until March 31, 2021. Ordinarily, sandwich boards are not permitted in the public way, however, the DPW Commissioner issued a temporary order allowing the use of sandwich boards to help businesses communicate with customers. Businesses interested in participating in this program must submit a certificate of liability insurance to the Department of Public Works (DPW) via Todd Kirrane, Transportation Administrator, [email protected]. Additional program details and requirements are available here.
- Temporary Retail Goods Sidewalk Display Program: A temporary program allowing retailers to display goods on the public sidewalk subject to certain conditions has been extended to March 31, 2021, as well. Additional program details and requirements are available here.
- Free Storefront Signs: In partnership with the Brookline business community, the Town of Brookline created a coordinated storefront signage project to fill Brookline's commercial areas with bright, positive messaging and clearly communicate how Brookline businesses are open for business. Request Takeout/Delivery, Come In We’re Open, Curbside Pick-up signs, etc. at: https://www.brooklinema.gov/1763/ShopBrookline-Signage-Program
- Public Health Signs for Businesses: In response to the business community’s request for signage to display in their storefronts that reinforces local and state COVID public health requirements, but in a welcoming, encouraging way to their customers, the Town of Brookline developed a set of public health signage, which were designed by a Brookline graphic designer, that businesses can download, print, and display in their storefronts: https://www.brooklinema.gov/305/Business-Commercial-Areas-Information#mask
These initiatives will be presented to the business community at the next Virtual Town Hall Meeting for Brookline Businesses and Nonprofits, a recurring meeting held the first Thursday of the month. To learn more and participate in Q&A with Town staff, join the meeting on Thursday, January 7, 2021 from 9-10am via Zoom: brooklinema.zoomgov.com/j/1612853212.
The Town of Brookline will continue to seek every opportunity to support the local business community through the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis. Businesses in need of assistance should contact Kara Brewton ([email protected]) or Meredith L. Mooney ([email protected]) in the Economic Development Division.