The city of Newburyport, Mass., formally introduced "parklets" to help restaurants continuing to recover from the pandemic.

Like many small cities, Newburyport is trying to attract customers back after government-mandated shutdowns in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus in 2020.

With vaccination rates up and reported positive cases of COVID-19 down, capacity limits have been lifted in Maine and New Hampshire.

Limits in Massachusetts are scheduled to increase on May 29, but Gov. Charlie Baker is scheduled to make an announcement during the coming week following the CDC's updated guidance that allows vaccinated individuals to stop wearing masks indoors and out.

Newburyport Mayor Donna D. Holaday unveiled the nine pallet-looking modular squares that will help create spaces for additional tables on Pleasant and State Streets during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday.

The return of the parklets was made possible by a $280,000 Shared Streets grant from the Massachusetts Department of Transpiration (MassDOT) awarded during the winter, according to Holaday.

Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce executive director Katy O’Connor Ives said during the ceremony a lot of work went into bringing the parklets to Newburyport.

"Because of this initiative folks are going to be able to feel confident and comfortable to come to our city to dine," O’Connor Ives said. "We ask you to spread the word that Newburyport is a safe, welcoming place to frequent and dine this spring and summer."

Holaday asked that after enjoying a meal diners stick around to see what else the city has to offer.

"I think the most important thing is to come on down, have something to eat and then shop. Spend money and support our economy. Newburyport is coming back," Holaday said.

The updated outdoor dining areas replace the large, temporary barriers the city utilized in parking areas in 2020. In order to provide space for the parklets and expanded outdoor dining, Holaday said the city has loosened restrictions for select outdoor dining on streets, sidewalks, plazas, parking lots, and in parks.

The pallet was installed on Pleasant and State Streets in front of Port Tavern, Agave, Anchor Stone Deck Pizza, Paddle Inn, Carmine’s, and Brine.

On Pleasant Street, parklets were installed in front of Angie’s Food and Diner, Loretta, and Lin’s Little Kitchen.

In Portsmouth, Sunday was the last day of the Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth's Hit the Decks: Come Out & Play event to get diners back onto both the restaurants along the waterfront and downtown.

Parklet in downtown Newburyport (City of Newburyport)

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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