How Going Out to Eat on the SouthCoast Tonight Will Look
Unless you've taken a run over the Rhode Island border, it's been months since any of us have enjoyed a meal at a restaurant. Many have done takeout, which not only helped the SouthCoast restaurant scene in a big way, it gave those of us who were willing and able to grab takeout a small sense of normalcy to grasp onto during the shutdown.
But we're in a new phase as of today. June 8 marks the beginning of Phase 2 of the Massachusetts re-opening. Many SouthCoast restaurants will make some adjustments to welcome you back over the coming days and weeks. Beyond any cosmetic improvements the restaurants may have made, there will be other changes to the dining experience overall in Massachusetts, at least for now.
The most significant change is that the dining will take place outdoors. Many restaurants are exploring the possibility of expanding their outdoor service. Frontera Grill in Fairhaven, for example, has applied to extend a tent from the left side of the popular Mexican restaurant to cover over a significant part of their parking lot. Keeping in mind that capacity will be limited, parking should not be an issue. Ownership believes that they will be able to fit up to 15 additional tables (placed at least six feet apart) under the tent.
Indoor dining will be included in the second step of Phase 2 and is expected to have capacity limits with tables spread at least six feet apart and no more than six to a table.
Physical menus are likely to change. They must be single-use only, or more likely, be posted online or on a wall for all to see.
Salt, pepper, and condiments will be single-use only.
Face masks will be worn by guests when not eating.
Over the weekend, the City of New Bedford released this guide for how restaurants will look in the city.
When we talked to Mayor Jon Mitchell, he told us that he'd be open to talking about shutting down certain streets that could help build the outdoor dining experience. Mitchell said that careful consideration would need to be made because closing down certain streets might help one restaurant while hurting another.