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City’s Outdoor Dining Program Now Permanent and Year-Round

Donato’s on 39th Avenue in Sunnyside Photo: Queens Post

Sept. 25, 2020 By Allie Griffin

New York City’s popular outdoor dining initiative will now be year-round and permanent, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.

The “Open Restaurants” program, where restaurants can set up outdoor dining on sidewalks and streets, will continue into the fall and winter months, de Blasio said.

The “Open Streets: Restaurants” part of the program, in which restaurants can serve patrons at tables on specific roads closed to through traffic, will also be permanent and year-round.

According to city hall estimates, Open Restaurants has enrolled more than 10,300 establishments  and has saved roughly 90,000 jobs citywide since it began in June as a response to COVID-19.

The program was originally set to expire at the end of October, but many advocates, business owners and elected officials called on the city to continue it year-round.

De Blasio said the program will be a new tradition for New York City as it recovers from the pandemic.

“Open Restaurants was a big, bold experiment in supporting a vital industry and reimagining our public space. And it worked,” de Blasio said in a statement. “As we begin a long-term recovery, we’re proud to extend and expand this effort to keep New York City the most vibrant city in the world. It’s time for a new tradition.”

The city will also allow restaurants to expand their outdoor seating to the front of adjacent properties, which was previously prohibited. The adjacent property owners must formally agree to the use of the space for a specified period of time at no fee.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) will issue a template agreement and provide further instructions early next month, City Hall said.

Restaurants who choose to continue with outdoor dining can set up heaters and tents to keep diners warm as cooler weather arrives.

Electric heaters will be permitted on both sidewalks and roadways, while propane and natural gas heaters will require a permit from the FDNY and are only allowed on sidewalks. The city will release official guidance on the use of heaters by the end of September, City Hall said. Restaurants cannot install heaters until then.

The city has also set rules for tents. Restaurants can choose to use a partial tent where at least half of the tent’s sides are open or a full tent at 25 percent capacity in line with the indoor dining rules.

Indoor dining in New York City is set to reopen at 25 percent capacity on Sept. 30.

City Hall will work multiple city agencies and the City Council to make the regulatory changes and guidance necessary to make the program permanent, de Blasio said.

Ridgewood Council Member Antonio Reynoso said he looks forward to working with the mayor on legislation to codify the outdoor dining program into law. The City Council is set to hear his bill next Wednesday that would do just that.

“The outdoor dining program has been an unequivocal success for both businesses and the public,” Reynoso said. “Outdoor dining has not only provided a lifeline for restaurants, it has demonstrated how our public streets can be transformed to create the dynamic spaces that make New York City special.”

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23 Comments

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Any day now

How about a drunk idiot crashing into innocent pedestrians sitting outside where cars use to park. Especially on a busy intersection like 43ave and 43 st.

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VV

So business will now be focusing on outdoor space when opening up a restaurant or bar. This week Nyc covid cases are rising in some neighborhoods. Perhaps they can look into rooftop dining. Please wear a mask, social distance and get your flu shot this year. Fall barely got started and i worry about people getting ill from covid 😷.

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ABoondy

yeah, i’m sure it will be comfortable dining in sub zero degree weather. thanks for blocking most of the sidewalks.

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Celebrating too early is never good

as numbers are rising in NYC dramatically in some neighborhoods, General Cuomos book on how he led us on to defeat the coronavirus is printing now.

Book is out Oct 13
You can read all about it during the upcoming lockdown.

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Halleluyah!

I talked to a few restaurant owners who said they’d probably shut down over the winter but for this kind of extension. It’s a no brainer as the city makes much more revenue off of land that is otherwise used for no/low-cost parking. And open restaurants bring in tax revenue…closed restaurants bring in nothing. Hopefully residential parking permits will be next.

Also happy to see open streets be made permanent. Hope that they put more robust physical barriers to keep non local traffic off our streets. No one needs to drive more than 5mph on a residential neighborhood street!

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Sunnysideposthatesme

You are the type of moron that has ruined nyc. This isn’t the South its the damn city and if you want to walk somewhere go to a God damn park. People need to get around.

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Looked in a mirror lately?

So what you’re saying is civically minded people who like to support local businesses and promote safer streets to protect their neighbors are “morons [who] ruined nyc”? It’s true the city has seen an influx of people as it has become more livable, and has had to change to become still more livable. But again, tell me how being an ignorant bigot opposed to people, businesses, and safety makes me and not you the one “ruining nyc”? Have you looked in the mirror? It would appear the city has outgrown you.

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Omar

I’m actually glad the pandemic happened. I think this outdoor dining is so cool and has been great for SUNNYSIDE!

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Gloria

Outdoor shopping should also take place. I have not went shopping for clothes and household apparel since march.

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Jill

Each restaurant and bar should open up a zoom account so those of us who order take out because we fear getting sick can enjoy the dining experience online. This will also be a great way to meet people and go private.

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Rita

Then they should allow the street festivals. My church has a festival each year and thier permit was taken away. Its unfair. My grandchildren were so upset. They look forward to the service, food, music, games and rides each year. A virtual online celebration or church gathering is not the same.

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Gabriela

Now some places are adding tents to outside dining. I guess to keep the cold and rain away. Which really defeats the purpose of not congregating in enclosed areas without face masks. This also makes it harder for pedestrians to see and watch out for bikes and vehicles when trying to cross the street. I am sure next the city will extend the hours they are allowed to operate outside. I choose to live an avenue with no business on it. Now its full of people looking for parking and has turned into a bus route when streets are closed on a near by ave. Quality of life currently sucks in western queens.

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idiot should leave nyc now

now they are wrapping 3 sides in plastic to keep the cold out.
Hey, sounds like a great move!!
We’ll have another complete lockdown by Halloween!

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Mamma Cuomo's meatball recipe

Commies love micromanaging everybody. The are antithetical to liberty and freedom.

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