Edgartown’s transformative outdoor dining streetscape from last summer received five-star reviews from restaurateurs in the town, prompting leaders to move forward with a similar proposal for this summer.

At a public hearing for the plan on Monday, restaurant owners said that the town’s willingness to adapt zoning regulations to help expand outdoor dining allowed many Island mainstay, Main Street eateries to survive the pandemic, which has crippled the restaurant industry across the country.

“The outdoor situation, for us, is about survival,” said Michael Brisson, chef and owner of l’Etoile restaurant. “I don’t know how we would have gotten by without using that front lawn for dining. My whole thing was being able to get through another year. And because of that, we did.”

The plan, made possible by a loosening of zoning laws last year, allowed approximately 15 restaurants in downtown Edgartown to add tables on sidewalks, parking lots and streets on town land adjacent to their properties, mimicking streetscapes in New Orleans or boulevards in Europe. While other towns on Island adopted related plans, including Oak Bluffs’ closure of Circuit avenue to traffic on Sundays, Edgartown’s plan was generally the most comprehensive.

Chefs and restaurant owners unanimously praised the operation on Monday.

“Outdoor dining for us and our restaurants was extremely successful,” said chef and owners of Raw 19 Joe Monteiro. “It was a great success.”

Suzanna Crowell, owner of Detente, said that informal polling showed most diners were still only comfortable with outdoor dining, making it crucial that Edgartown’s outdoor dining plan continued this summer.

“Outdoor dining is what got us through last summer,” Ms. Crowell said. “Overwhelmingly, I’m hearing that people are still most comfortable dining outdoors, and not so comfortable indoors in a small space. And I think that that affects a lot of the Edgartown restaurants.”

JB Blau, who owns Sharky’s Cantina in Edgartown as well as a variety of restaurants in other down-Island towns, agreed, saying that he put out a poll on social media showing that 300 of 700 respondents said they would still only be comfortable dining outdoors even if they are fully vaccinated. He called Edgartown’s plan exemplary.

“Even vaccinated people are looking for outdoor dining. I want to stress how important it is going to be for us this summer,” Mr. Blau said.

The only point of concern came from a Main Street retailer who said that outdoor dining on sidewalks interfered with his walk-in business. The state zoning changes only applied to restaurants, not retailers. Marc Glasser, who owns a store next to The Wharf restaurant, said his business was cut in half when the restaurant next door was open for outdoor dining, thereby closing the sidewalk.

“Last year was a disaster for business,” Mr. Glasser said. “I would hope that we would be able to have that sidewalk open so that our business can have a chance to rebound.”

Edgartown health agent Matt Poole, fire chief Alex Schaeffer, police chief Bruce McNamee and the board of selectmen all provided positive feedback for the plan as well. But most parties agreed that there were potential improvements, including opening sidewalks and starting the plan earlier in the summer. Last year’s plan did not get implemented until late June.

“I think we are going to have some sorting out to do with pedestrian traffic,” Mr. Poole said.

“I think if we can free up the sidewalks, then we keep everybody happy,” selectman Michael Donaroma added.

Selectmen voted unanimously to approve a motion that will allow them to move forward with proposals and applications for outdoor dining, with an eye toward keeping sidewalks open.

Town administrator James Hagerty said he expected the summer to be the busiest in the town’s history.

“I think this summer is going to be like something we have never seen,” he said at the meeting’s close.