Outdoor dining to be permitted year-round in New York City: Mayor

Photo by Dean Moses

The city’s Open Restaurants Initiative, which allows for restaurants to serve customers on sidewalk and curb space, will be made permanent.

During an interview with WNYC host Brian Lehrer, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the extension of outdoor dining, which will now be permitted year-round.

“I want us to go for the gold here,” de Blasio told Lehrer. “I really want us to take this model and make it a part of the life of New York City for years and generations to come.”

Restaurants can now extend their seating past the front of adjacent storefronts if neighboring businesses agree to it, de Blasio added. Restaurants that want to better heat outdoor dining spaces by enclosing them may do so but must keep capacity at 25 percent. Conversely, restaurants or bars that want to host outdoor dining in winter must keep spaces “more open” to allow for better airflow, de Blasio said.

Outdoor dining, which started in response to the coronavirus pandemic, was set to end on Oct. 31. It’s unclear exactly how many businesses have closed in the six months since the pandemic reached New York City but some estimate that over 1,000 bars and restaurants have permanently closed since March.

De Blasio claims that the initiative has saved over 100,000 jobs in the industry now that 10,355 bars and restaurants are participating in the program, according to the NYC Open Restaurants tracker. 

The city’s Open Street program, which closes off street blocks to vehicular traffic, will also become permanent.

This story first appeared on amny.com.

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