Outdoor Dining Permitted To Operate Year-Round, De Blasio Says

Good news for fans of al fresco dining: The Department of Transportation’s Open Streets: Restaurants and Open Restaurants programs will continue year-round, Mayor de Blasio said on Friday. 

Outdoor dining, which was set to expire at the end of October, is now permitted to operate 12 months out of the year, according to de Blasio’s announcement on WNYC’s “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,” hizzoner said. “I really think it’s going to help restaurants survive.”

According to city guidelines, dining establishments can utilize outdoor spaces beyond that of their immediate storefront areas — so long as they gain formal permission from neighbors and have filled out the proper application with DOT which will be available in the coming days. Enclosures are also permitted if the seating capacity remains at maximum 25% occupancy. 

The NYC Hospitality Alliance has more details on guidance with regard to outdoor-dining operations in colder months. 

The Downtown Alliance strongly encourages restaurants to not make any changes to their outdoor dining setup until further guidance is issued.

The outdoor-dining expansion news comes on the heels of the restart of indoor-dining service, which begins September 30. Indoor-dining restaurants will start at 25% capacity. If the citywide infection rate stays low, restaurants can increase their indoor capacity to 50% on November 1. But if the infection rate goes back up, restaurants may be forced to shut down again.

photo: CUT New York City