Mayor extends Open Restaurants timeline, adds Open Streets in Queens

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Photo by Dean Moses

The city announced it will extend the Open Restaurants program until the end of October, instead of the beginning of September as originally planned. The extension will give nearly 9,000 participating restaurants two extra months to serve patrons in a safe and socially distant outdoor space.

Mayor Bill de Blasio also unveiled 26 more locations for the weekend expansion of outdoor dining options under the recent initiative to combine Open Streets and Open Restaurants. Three of the 26 locations are in Forest Hills and Elmhurst.

In Forest Hills, the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce will be managing two Open Streets and Open Restaurants — one on 70th Road, between Austin Street and Queens Boulevard; the other on Austin Street, between 72nd Avenue and 72nd Road.

In Elmhurst, Thai Community USA will manage another Open Streets and Open Restaurants corridor on Woodside Avenue, between 76th Street and 78th Street.

“The restaurants on 70th Road and on Austin Street near 72nd Ave. are so excited to expand their seating with the open street closures,” said Leslie Brown, president of the Forest Hills Chamber of Commerce. “The street closure can really benefit the restaurants and at the same time bring the community together on these summer evenings! I encourage everyone to come out, invite friends and don’t forget the other small businesses that you know and love by supporting them!”

Open Streets and Open Restaurants was created to expand restaurant seating options onto car-free streets for select business corridors throughout the city. Restaurants on these corridors will go further away from curb than other Open Restaurants participants, while the rest of the street is open to pedestrian traffic and emergency vehicles.

Selected corridors will be operational on Friday from 5 to 11 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from noon to 11 p.m. The 26 new locations bring the citywide total to 47 participating streets as of Friday, July 17.

The city will continue to work with the restaurant industry and community partners to ensure there is clarity on the guidelines for roadway seating setups.

“Our Open Restaurants initiative has been a tremendous team effort and we are excited to give more restaurants — in places like Forest Hills, Queens and University Heights in the Bronx — additional room to serve their customers and put people back to work,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We thank Mayor de Blasio, the teams from DOT and our sister agencies, and all the BIDs and other neighborhood organizations which have been working with us to make outdoor dining part of an expanded Open Streets program.”

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