Following New York City’s implementation of outdoor restaurant dining, the city will be starting a similar program for storefronts, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
The Open Storefronts program will allow businesses to use a portion of the sidewalk outside their storefront to display and sell their merchandise. The program will begin Friday and run through December 31.
Businesses can use up to eight feet of space, and must keep goods and furniture indoors when not open for business. An estimated 40,000 business will be eligible for the program.
“Rebuilding a fairer, better New York City means maximizing use of our outdoor space, helping businesses keep their employees, and giving New Yorkers more reasons than ever to shop local and enjoy their communities. Open Storefronts does all three,” de Blasio said, in announcing the program at his daily press conference Wednesday. “This program builds on the successful legacy of our Open Streets and Open Restaurants programs, and I look forward to finding more ways than ever to reimagine our urban landscape.”
Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the City Department of Small Business Services, one of several officials to join the mayor the press conference, said. “This innovative approach will help bring back customers, revive the character of our neighborhoods, and build a stronger New York City.”
Councilman Chaim Deutsch, who represents neighborhoods in Brooklyn that are in the coronavirus “red zone” wher essential businesses are closed, said the program was a missed opportunity. Noting that the nonessential businesses in red zones are closed, Deutsch asked why the Open Storefront program wouldn’t apply to red zones. “The Mayor had the opportunity to toss them a life preserver, but chose instead to stand by and watch them drown,” Deutsch tweeted.