March 20, 2021

Press Release – Salem Al Fresco

by Felicia Cheney

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Outdoor dining returns to Salem April 1st


SALEM, MA – The City of Salem has announced that outdoor dining configurations will return to restaurants throughout the community in April. So far, more than 35 restaurants have applied for the required approvals to set up outdoor dining areas at their locations, some using private parking lots, the sidewalk, parking spaces or other nearby public open space.

The City is working closely with restaurants to ensure the outdoor dining spaces are safe, accessible, and compliant with state and local regulations.  The dozens of restaurants that participated in the outdoor dining program in 2020 utilized jersey barriers, decking, planters, and tents to create dedicated exterior dining areas. Tap boards and other accommodations were made to ensure outdoor dining and any adjacent sidewalks were accessible.

“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 Kim Driscoll. “What we discovered was that these activations not only made our community safer, they also made our public spaces more enjoyable overall. I’m grateful to our City team, including the licensing and public works staff, and to the Creative Collective, for all of their efforts making sure these 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.”

“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” says John Andrews, founder of Creative Collective. “We intend to continue to find interesting ways to support outdoor activations in tandem with this project throughout the Spring and Summer. Working together with all of the City departments has really made this a streamlined process, removing many barriers for local businesses.” 

A list of participating restaurants offering outdoor dining will be available at and on the Destination Salem app for iPhone and Android.

Outdoor dining applications are being considered on an ongoing basis. Restaurants that are interested in applying may complete an application at