BOSTON (WHDH) - Outdoor dining will look different in the North End this year as a new city outdoor dining program will require restaurants to take their tables off streets.

Three years after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and a subsequent surge in popularity for outdoor dining, the city of Boston is not allowing outdoor dining on North End roads this year. Instead, such dining will only be allowed on sidewalks and private patios. 

The city announced the new program on Thursday, prompting mixed reactions. 

“How much more can the residents that live here take?” one North End resident asked during a community meeting on the topic. 

“You people make great money and I wish you a million dollars a day, I wish you all the luck in the world,” another resident said of restaurant owners. “But we need our life back.” 

Where some celebrated, the decision left some restaurant owners feeling slighted. 

“Two years ago, when COVID happened, everyone was dying to sit outside and the restaurants had to go spend money and [get] masks to open a restaurant on the street to make everyone else happy,” Massimo Tiberi said. “Where is all the happiness now?”

The city says it is still working on a permanent city-wide plan for what outdoor dining will look like going forward. Some are confident there is a solution to be found for 2024.

“We can do it here with improvements, I really believe that” Maria Fiumara, a supporter of outdoor dining, told 7NEWS.

Restaurants can still apply for patio and sidewalk seating, but because of the confusion and contention over the issue, the city will create a task force to help restaurants and residents can get on board with a new plan going forward.

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