As limited indoor dining resumes, Greenfield continues to work with restaurants on outdoor dining plans

  • Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Ben Delozier of Hope & Olive in Greenfield gets ready to deliver some appetizers in the restaurant’s new outdoor seating area. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Hope & Olive’s new outdoor seating area on Hope Street in Greenfield. Staff Photo/PAUL FRANZ

  • Kennedy Russell, 7, dines outside at Mesa Verde in Greenfield with her mother, Ginamarie Russell, of Vermont, and Ginamarie’s mother, Maureen Sky, of Bernardston. Clear partitions separate diners, who sit at least 6 feet apart. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 6/26/2020 4:14:02 PM

GREENFIELD — People can begin eating at their favorite restaurants again, but with limitations that include social distancing and reduced capacity.

The limited indoor dining began Monday, and the city has been working with restaurants to help them provide outdoor dining for a few weeks.

Greenfield’s Community and Economic Development Director MJ Adams said some restaurants, like Mesa Verde, started providing outdoor dining June 8, while it has taken others time to decide how they will make it work.

Mesa Verde co-owner Amy McMahan said the restaurant has been open for outside dining for two weeks and “things are going really well,” but that she doesn’t plan to open the dining room any time soon.

“We don’t think it’s safe, so we’ll wait to see how things go,” she said. “We can seat about 25 for lunch, and when Conte Office closes at 5 p.m., we are able to almost double our capacity with more tables, seating about 40.”

Mesa Verde has been offering takeout, Door Dash (a third-party delivery service), and outside dining.

“Everyone seems to be really happy to come out,” she said. “We see people emerging from quarantine to have a drink with a friend. Right now, being outdoors is one of the safest ways to spend time with people. I’m just not convinced that indoor dining is a good thing, even with restrictions.”

Other Greenfield restaurants, like Main Street Bar & Grille, have resumed indoor dining. Main Street Bar & Grille reopened its doors to the public on Wednesday.

“Reservations will be considered our priority to support and maintain social distancing,” Christina Guevin-Gurney, owner and manager, said in a statement.

Customers are required to wear a face mask when they enter the restaurant, and once seated the customer can remove the mask to dine, Guevin-Gurney explained. Staff members also wear face masks and follow cleaning and sanitizing protocols.

“Staff and customer health and safety are Main Street’s top priorities,” she said. “We look forward to serving our community, welcoming our customers and getting back to business.”

The restaurant is also continuing to offer takeout, curbside pickup and delivery services to Greenfield and Turners Falls.

City’s role

The city is looking at ways to expand access and availability to serve food and drinks outdoors. Mayor Roxann Wedegartner said she, Adams and the Licensing, Heath, Police and Fire departments have all been working together to develop those plans.

A number of restaurants hold liquor licenses that allow them to serve alcohol outside, but for restaurants without the outdoor licensing, the city has been working to expand their licenses so they can.

The Board of License Commissioners voted to temporarily delegate authority for outdoor seating licenses and the extension of liquor licenses to outdoor settings to Wedegartner, and to temporarily waive the application fee so all of those licenses can be expedited and restaurants can get up and running.

The Licensing Department has mailed license applications with explanations for the extension of liquor licenses to all liquor license permit holders in Greenfield. At the same time, the City Council made changes to city ordinances to allow for alcohol to be served on public sidewalks. The approval process has been shortened and delegated to the Wedegartner, which will help applicants get approved in days, rather than weeks like it typically takes, Adams said.

Wedegartner and the city are also pursuing a state Department of Transportation Shared Streets and Spaces grant. Adams said the grant would pay for the city to install dividers for restaurants like Hope & Olive to serve in front of their restaurants in parking spaces without the fear of diners being hit or disturbed by passing vehicles.

The city is also working to create dining spaces in some city-owned locations, including parking spaces on Main Street, Ames Street and the alley near the parking garage.

“Those areas would be managed by restaurants in those areas so that proper social distancing is practiced,” Adams said. “They would also be responsible — they want to be — for sanitizing the tables and chairs after diners leave. We have to think of the safety of diners first.”

She said the city is also talking with Green Fields Market about making the alley next to it a dining space.

“This will happen throughout the summer and we’ll see how it works,” Adams said. “There will be things that work and there will be challenges. We want to encourage outdoor dining, allowing that experience and for people to enjoy the atmosphere, while making sure it works in terms of safety and in terms of the economics for each restaurant.”

Adams said the city understands people might be nervous about returning to dining out because the pandemic is not over, but they might feel a little safer if they can sit outside and away from others.

Restaurants that wish to take advantage of the new rules should contact the Mayor’s Office at 413-772-1560 or the Licensing Department at 413-772-1580, or email lori.krikorian@greenfield-ma.gov.


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