Outdoor dining will now a permanent fixture in the city, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced this morning on the Brian Lehrer Show. “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,” he said. “I believe this is going to make it a lot easier for restaurants to survive.”
Outdoor dining will be year-round. Restaurants can expand into parking spot spaces in front of adjacent storefronts if the other businesses agree to it. Heaters will be allowed outdoors as well. Restaurants that offer outdoor dining during the winter cannot enclose their spaces, otherwise, they will have to adhere to a 25% capacity rule.
“Outdoor dining has been one of the major successes of the past few months, and the Council is proud to have led the charge to make this common-sense measure permanent,” NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson Tweeted. “We are grateful Mayor de Blasio heard our calls and is taking action on this important issue.”
Currently, more than 10,000 restaurants across the city are participating in the Open Restaurants program, which allows restaurants to use sidewalks and street space to serve people outdoors. Outdoor dining has been quite popular and we even wrote a round-up of our favorite outdoor dining spots throughout the borough. Indoor dining is set to resume next week and restaurants will only be allowed to operate at a 25% capacity.
“Amid the economic devastation of COVID-19, I’m glad to see the city’s outdoor dining program will be made permanent. As someone who was a dishwasher early in my career, I firmly believe restaurants should be for all New Yorkers— not just a privileged few,” Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said. “Outdoor dining has helped support struggling small businesses during the pandemic, reinvigorate city streets, and restore a much-needed sense of normalcy. This kind of practical policymaking must guide our recovery, with a strong emphasis on equity, in the months and years ahead.”
Randy Peers, the president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce, had this to say: “Outdoor dining has been a monumental success for restaurants all around New York City. Mayor de Blasio’s decision to safely extend outdoor dining year-round, will not only provide a vital lifeline to our struggling restaurants, but will also enhance the vibrancy of our neighborhoods well into the future.”