Mayor de Blasio: Outdoor Seating Will Be Year-Round

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)

During his Friday press conference, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the “Open Restaurants” program will be extended for the rest of the year. The system of outdoor dining allowed restaurants to safely serve patrons on tables set up on the sidewalk. Though New York City will allow limited indoor dining to resume on September 30th, the successful outdoor program will be made permanent.

The City Council intends to make the regulation changes to permanently legalize outdoor dining.

More than ten thousand establishments on 85 streets that were closed off to cars have been part of the Open Restaurants program since it began in June, and it supported an estimated 90,000 jobs in the city’s food service industry.

“Open Restaurants was a big, bold experiment in supporting a vital industry and reimaging our public space. And it worked,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “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.”

In preparation for upcoming colder weather, the city will allow restaurants to use gas and electric heaters and tents to keep patrons warm, and restaurants will be allowed to utilize the space in front of adjacent properties to expand seating, so long as the adjacent properties consent.

“Outdoor dining has been a huge success, enlivening our commercial corridors and providing businesses with a much-needed opportunity to generate further revenue while social distancing,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “This program becoming a mainstay allows patrons to continue supporting their favorite neighborhood establishments and allows restaurants to safely expand their dining options.”