When our area re-opens for business and our noted restaurants start welcoming back antsy patrons, it would be good for their sales to allow the establishments to expand their outside seating to the street where possible.

Limiting the eateries to abide by social distancing regulations, they'll lose about two-thirds of their square footage, so local leaders should allow for an extension of outside dining to include sidewalks and parking spaces. Who knows, it may become a new norm for some.

It would take some coordination by government and business leaders, but just look at Louisville, Kentucky, or San Jose, California. Boston likes the idea, too. Permits and licenses would have to have waivers to allow the sale of alcohol, and insurance companies would have to agree. As long as the sidewalk café plan is handicapped accessible, it's a win-win.

Where you aware that COVID-19 thrives in tight indoor quarters? The New York Times' David Leonhardt reported on how Erin S. Bromage, an associate professor of biology at UMass Dartmouth, has become a sort of blogging star after writing an "impressively clear explanation" on how COVID-19 spreads, mostly via crowds in confined inside spaces, in The Risks-Know Them-Avoid Them.

Open-air dining is good for you in more ways than you think. The restaurant industry needs a lifeline. Plus eating food outdoors just tastes better.

There's no better way to give local restaurants a breath of fresh air than by supporting al fresco dining, extending the tables onto the sidewalks, under the sun and stars of the SouthCoast skies.

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Phil Paleologos is the host of The Phil Paleologos Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. Contact him at phil@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @PhilPaleologos. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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