Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced the Open Storefronts program, permitting storefront businesses to use a portion of their sidewalk to display merchandise, sell goods, complete transactions, and provide queuing areas. The program will begin October 30th and run until December 31st.
Building on the success of the Open Restaurants and Open Streets programs, Open Storefronts will provide safe spaces for small businesses to rebound in challenging economic times. This program is a part of an effort to make New York City the world’s capital for healthy outdoor living and to advance the Mayor’s recovery agenda, which is centered on public health and social justice.
“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,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “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.”
“As we move into the holiday season we want to make sure our small businesses – who have been hit so hard throughout this pandemic – have a new and common sense way to sell their goods and merchandise,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “Building off the highly successful and popular Open Restaurants program, we’re cutting the red tape and making it easier for small businesses to utilize public space, all while keeping New Yorkers safe.”
"To recover from the economic consequences of the pandemic, we must be creative about how to use our outdoor public spaces," said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. "Open Storefronts offers small businesses and their employees economic relief, while also making our neighborhoods safer, livelier, and more convenient for consumers."
An eight-foot clear path of sidewalk from the curb must be maintained for Open Storefronts to operate. Retailers cannot use the space of adjacent businesses, and they must bring all furniture and goods indoors when closed. For existing Open Streets: Restaurants locations, the Open Storefronts program will also permit businesses to use the curb lane directly fronting their storefront to conduct business activities during operating hours. Businesses can visit www.nyc.gov/openstorefronts to review eligibility requirements and to complete a brief online application.
“Our 240,000 small businesses are the backbone of our economy and we will continue to fight for their survival,” said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of NYC Department of Small Business Services. “The Open Restaurants and Open Streets: Restaurants programs have brought great success to our restaurant industry, and we are excited to now include our small retail shops. This innovative approach will help bring back customers, revive the character of our neighborhoods, and build a stronger NYC."
“As New York City continues to recover from COVID, Open Storefronts is the next step in helping save thousands of small businesses,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Thanks to the Mayor’s leadership, stores will be able to use a portion of the sidewalk for sales space, which should be a real economic boost as we near the holiday season. We ask that business owners carefully follow the application and guidance on our website, so that we can guarantee that our sidewalks remain fully accessible to the public.”
"Our recovery presents an opportunity to re-imagine our city by leveraging its streetscapes and outdoor spaces to create a healthier, more vibrant place for all New Yorkers," said James Patchett, president and CEO of New York City Economic Development Corporation. "The new Open Storefronts program is advancing this vision while providing a boost to our small businesses, retailers, and economy."
The program is anticipated to impact 40,000 businesses and support over 450,000 employees, while providing customers with an additional option to shop in-person and locally ahead of the holiday season.
"Outdoor space has been a lifeline for bars and restaurants, and there's no reason why our city shouldn't give retailers space outdoors as well. Open Storefronts and the reopening of our hugely popular winter markets will continue our city's reimagining of how we use our street space to help businesses and New Yorkers get the most out of our streetscape,” said NYC Council Speaker Corey Johnson.