SALEM — Outdoor dining will return to restaurants in Salem in April.
More than 35 restaurants have already applied for the required approvals to set up outdoor dining areas in private parking lots, sidewalks, parking spaces and other nearby public open space.
The numerous restaurants that participated in the outdoor dining program last year used Jersey barriers, decking, planters, and tents to create dining areas outside. The city is again working closely with restaurants to ensure the outdoor dining spaces are safe, accessible, and compliant with state and local regulations.
“Last spring, at the outset of the pandemic, our restaurants and community partners pivoted quickly to be able to set up safer outdoor dining areas to allow for more space between customers and greater air circulation,” said Mayor Kimberley Driscoll. “What we discovered was that these activations not only made our community safer, they also made our public spaces more enjoyable overall.”
She said she is grateful for her city team, including the licensing and public works staff, and to the Creative Collective, for all of their efforts toward making sure those unique opportunities could be revived and improved upon for this spring and summer.
“Most especially, I am grateful to our restaurant owners and employees, for being flexible, creative, and committed to keeping Salem vibrant,” she said.
The founder of Creative Collective John Andrews said they intend to continue to find interesting ways to support outdoor activities along with the outdoor dining project throughout the spring and summer.
“The inclusion of better accessibility and creative inclusions from local artisans and makers not only supported the downtown economy, but also gave a much necessary injection of opportunity to the creative workforce,” he said. “Working together with all of the city departments has really made this a streamlined process, removing many barriers for local businesses.”
Participating restaurants can be found online at www.salem.org/outdoordining and on the Destination Salem app. Outdoor dining applications are still being accepted and considered.
Interested establishments can apply by completing an online application at www.salem.com/licensing/pages/restaurant-outdoor-seating-application-link.