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New York City finally has a permanent Open Streets Program

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city’s outdoor dining program will extend through the winter months and be made permanent in NYC.

New York Restaurant
Photo by Krisztina Papp on Unsplash

Last Friday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the city of New York's Open Restaurants on Open Streets program will be extended through the winter months and be made permanent in the city.

The news which was announced during an interview with Brian Lehrer on his WNYC radio show, was quickly picked up and amplified by the local urbanism news industry.

Reporting for Eater New York, Luke Fortney and Erika Adams described the details of the plan:

" Under the new rules, restaurants will be allowed to keep sidewalk and curbside dining going indefinitely. The city’s Open Streets program, which designated dozens of city blocks to shut down to car traffic for dining in the street over the summer, will also be made a permanent fixture. “This will really help us as an important part of how we recover as a city,” de Blasio said.

Restaurants will also be able to expand their frontage space to include seating in front of adjacent businesses if those landlords and tenants are open to it, the mayor said. He also stipulated that for restaurants that conduct outdoor dining in the winter, the space has to be kept “more open” to allow enough airflow. If the area is fully enclosed to better heat the space, those dining areas have to adhere to the same seating restrictions as indoor dining, which will start at 25 percent capacity next week.

"Even though indoor dining is set to return on September 30, many restaurant owners still say that outdoor dining is crucial to surviving through the winter. More than 1,700 restaurants and bars have closed in New York City since the start of the pandemic in mid-March, many citing the inability to pay rent from takeout and delivery services alone. Those that remain open have said that they’re clinging to all forms of revenue right now, even those with weeks-out reservations.

In August, de Blasio committed to bringing back outdoor dining next year tentatively starting on June 1, and earlier this month he said the city’s outdoor dining program “should become” a permanent seasonal tradition, recurring annually.

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