Thursday, June 18, 2020


Qualifying restaurants can use sidewalk, roadways and other outdoor space to allow for social distance among customers; Mayoral Executive Order creates a new and streamlined application process to allow restaurants to expand capacity outdoors

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  Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced guidance for the City’s Open Restaurants program, which allows qualifying restaurants and bars to expand outdoor seating on sidewalks, curb lanes, backyards, patios, plazas, and Open Streets as New York City begins Phase 2 of reopening. The City has established an expedited approval processes by allowing restaurants and bars to self-certify their eligibility for curb lane and sidewalk seating using a new, streamlined application process at NYC.Gov, which will be available starting Friday, June 19th. The mayor codified the guidance by signing Executive Order 126.

“Restaurants are the backbone of New York City’s neighborhood culture, and they’ve done their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. It’s our City’s turn to help them reopen safely and responsibly,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These commonsense guidelines will help local businesses get back on their feet – and let New Yorkers safely enjoy the meal they’ve earned.”

“New York has faced extraordinary times in 2020, and Open Restaurants is an extraordinary next step for us.” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “This summer, as we enter this next phase, we want New Yorkers to go out and enjoy their beloved restaurants -- but we want them to do so safely and responsibly. We will monitor this program closely to make sure we do not see any unintended consequences. As with our Open Streets program, we are hopeful that regular New Yorkers will also help make this new program work.”

“NYC is home to over 27,000 restaurants that are in need of support as we all work together to reopen. The Open Restaurant Program is an innovative response to the most pressing issues this community faces and provides opportunities for restaurant owners to generate much-needed revenue,” said NYC Department of Small Business Services Commissioner Jonnel Doris. “NYC means business and this program ensures that the vibrant restaurant community is well supported and equipped to come back even stronger than before.”

“New Yorkers and diners – we are all in this together and we need to do our best to keep each other healthy,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Oxiris Barbot. “Please remember the core four to preventing COVID-19 whether you’re staff or a patron -- maintain distance, practice good hand hygiene, wear face coverings while not eating or drinking and stay home if sick."

Open Restaurants gives dining establishments five new options. Beginning in Phase 2, restaurants can implement seating in curb lanes and sidewalks. Phase 2 allows reopening and use of as of right outdoor space in backyard and patios. Restaurants can also work with their local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to establish seating in plazas. Beginning in July, restaurants can offer seating on Open Streets on nights and weekends.

Sidewalk seating will be in effect until the end of October. Curb lane seating will last through Labor Day. DOT will work with community groups and partner agencies to identify additional seating within full streets closures in July. Restaurants can work with their local BID and DOT to request additional seating in plazas by emailing

The Department of Small Business Services (SBS) will work to ensure that the most up-to-date guidance and materials needed by small business owners for a safe phased-in reopening are readily available. The information will be housed on a centralized resource page with guidance and best practices for the restaurant industry across all five boroughs. SBS will also launch a reopening supplies marketplace for easy access to wholesalers selling PPE, gloves, sneeze guards and other equipment. Business owners can call a hotline at 1-888-SBS-4NYC to ask questions about this process.

Rules for compliance include:

·         Outdoor seating on sidewalks may not exceed the business’ frontage width.
·         Seating cannot extend past the eight feet depth of the curb lane, and it cannot block:
  o   Bus stops
  o   No Standing/No Stopping Anytime zones
  o   Doorways
  o   FDNY access (e.g. within 15 feet of a fire hydrant)
·         There must be an eight-foot clear path free of obstructions between the seating and the curb.
·       Social distancing, hygiene and other health guidance must be followed.
·        Restaurants must provide their own tables, chairs and traffic barriers.
 ·         Restaurants must adhere to all local, state and federal requirements relating to accessibility for people with disabilities, including path of travel, minimum table heights, and clearance requirements.

Customers are not permitted to gather outside of establishments. Businesses that repeatedly fail to comply will have their Open Restaurant authorization revoked by DOT, and will be referred to the SLA.

Executive Order 126 directs the New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) to establish and administer the program. The Order temporarily suspends select provisions of the City’s Administrative Code, Rules of the City of New York and the New York City Zoning Resolution, including: the prohibition of the consumption of alcohol on streets, specific sidewalk café regulations, and relevant building code provisions. All suspensions are only applicable to the program.

"Restaurants throughout our borough have taken a huge hit from COVID-19, which has been compounded by the difficulty of accessing financial lifelines like the Paycheck Protection Program. I am glad the Mayor is now heeding our call to allow restaurants to place seating outdoors in adjoining sidewalks and curbside parking areas. Giving restaurants a wide array of options for outdoor seating is a necessity to ensure these businesses stay afloat while we manage a safe re-opening process. But given the exigency of this situation and the continuing uncertainty around the duration of this pandemic, I believe we must go even further, extending the curbside pilot until October and loaning out DOT and NYPD barriers, rather than having businesses that are already in dire financial straits cover the costs of those barriers. This is a very positive step, and I look forward to working with business owners, advocacy organizations, and City Hall to build on this progress," said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

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