April 28, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer (courtesy photos)
Tosca, similar to Caffe Tosca across the street, will now offer outside table service.
The Selectmen granted approval last night for a COVID-friendly proposal to place five tables outside by the side entrance -- on the sidewalk running along the driveway leading to the Station Street parking lot -- for a total of about 20 seats. Stanchions will delineate the area.
There will be six feet between tables, and social distancing guidelines will be in place for diners and staff.
"What will you be serving for dinner tonight?" quipped Selectman Joseph Fisher to Brian Barry, who represented Tosca for the request.
When asked if the neighbors had been notified of the proposal, Barry said the ones he was able to contact were in "full support."
There are no plans for music outdoors, but when the state COVID-19 guidelines are changed to allow indoor music, Tosca will start up the live music again in the Wine Room, according to Barry.
Selectman William Ramsey called this outdoor dining option "great" but noted that once Gov. Charlie Baker lifts the state of emergency, restaurants with outdoor seating approved under special COVID-19 regulations will need to reapply for outdoor seating approval through the normal permitting process within 60 days of the date the governor makes that announcement. When that will happen is uncertain at this time, but Ramsey predicts it could be as soon as the end of August.
This applies only to eating establishments that were approved for outdoor dining under these COVID-19 regulations and not to those that were already approved for outdoor seating before the pandemic.
Selectmen Chair Mary Power suggested that any restaurants in this category start considering whether or not they will want to continue with outdoor dining when all the restrictions are finally lifted.
Applying for outdoor seating under the normal permitting process "takes time and adds some complexity," she said. "The sooner we have these conversations the better for all parties involved so that there is no interruption of business."
Power went on to thank Barry, on behalf of everyone involved, for Tosca's "continued efforts to help maintain the vitality of our downtown area."
Barry also noted that the Beach House snack shop at Hingham Harbor opens for the season tomorrow.
The owners of Stars on Hingham Harbor, Tosca, Caffe Tosca, and Fireking -- which are all part of Eat Well, Inc. -- partnered to bring about the Beach House as part of the long-awaited completion of the new bathhouse/snack shop/community room building at the Bathing Beach.