The city will take a “huge step” towards recovering from the coronavirus now that it will enter Phase 2 of reopening on Monday, June 22, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.
Phase 2 of New York state’s four-phase reopening plan allows for outdoor dining at bars and restaurants and some in-store shopping. Hair salons, barbershops and offices can reopen if they abide by social distancing rules. The real estate industry, commercial building management, car sales, leasing and renting and retail rental, repair and cleaning can also return to business under Phase 2 guidelines.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration expected somewhere between 150,000 and 300,000 New Yorkers will begin returning to the city’s workforce on Monday.
To help “save” 5,000 struggling restaurants during Phase 2, the de Blasio administration announced that cafes, bars and restaurants will be able to use adjacent curbs, sidewalks, backyards, patios and some of the city’s open streets as outdoor seating space. Some of the city’s Business Improvement Districts will work with eateries to configure outdoor seating in pedestrian plazas.
The Department of Transportation has yet to decide which open streets restaurants will be able to place outdoor seating, but the option will be available to bars, restaurants and cafes by July, according to the mayor. Curb-side outdoor seating will be available through Labor Day as part of pilot program, the mayor said, and sidewalk seating will only be available until October.
If a restaurant or bar wants to use roadway curb space for outdoor seating, it can not exceed the length of the business and must create a physical barrier between diners and travel lanes with planters or other types of barricades. Businesses using sidewalk space for outdoor dining must leave a walkable space between seating and the edge of the curb.
Curbs with “No Standing Anytime” signage, bus stops and curb space within 15 feet of a fire hydrant can not be used for outdoor dining seating, according to city hall.
The DOT will post an online self-certification application for outdoor seating on Friday, June 19, where applicants will need be required to pledge to not allow customers not seated to gather outside in order to maintain social distance and prevent a spike in coronavirus cases.
Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo threatened to “reverse” the course of reopening after videos and pictures of crowds disregarding social distancing rules and not wearing masks outside of Manhattan bars and restaurants were blasted across social media. During a press conference on Sunday, Governor Cuomo said that the state had received over 25,000 complaints of business violating social distancing rules with the majority of those complaints coming from Manhattan and the Hamptons.
Countries like China and Singapore have seen a spike in coronavirus cases in recent days, possibly because of reopening too early, de Blasio told reporters that New Yorkers would not “make the same mistakes” when entering Phase 2.
“We have lots of inspectors out there to makes sure things are done right,” de Blasio told reporters. ” If we see it, we’ll address it.”
This story originally appeared on amny.com.