NYC City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and fellow council member Antonio Reynoso just introduced a bill that would open up streets so NYC restaurants could use them for outdoor dining.
Johnson explained that getting sidewalk space approved for dining use is normally pretty complicated and expensive, so it’s not likely that city restaurants would be able to pivot in time, especially after losing so much business due to COVID-19 closures.
Going out to restaurants and bars is definitely on the brain as the summer warms up and the city nears reopening phases, and of course, more space outdoors would allow for easier socially-distanced dining. This legislation is hoping to solve that in a straightforward way.
Here’s how the proposed bill would work:
- The NYC DOT (Department of Transportation) would identify the best open spaces for outdoor dining in NYC
- The NYC Department of Health would come up with safety rules that both restaurants and patrons would have to follow
- Restaurants would submit an application for one of the streets that the DOT identified; then it would get approved by the City Council/Community Board
- It wouldn’t last forever (unlike to-go cocktails might)…the process would expire on October 31, 2020 (or whenever social distancing regulations are lifted)
“This will be huge in getting our restaurants and their employees back on their feet,” Johnson said. “Our restaurants need this. I’m confident that we can creatively use our street space to get them back up and running.”
It definitely seems like a promising development for summer in NYC. We may be going out to eat again sooner than we think…fingers crossed!
In other news: This East Coast Restaurant Is Using Genius ‘Bumper Tables’ For Socially Distant Dining
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