If you’re missing the sidewalk cafes from your European vacation, you’ll be happy to hear that city council just passed a permanent outdoor dining law in NYC. After two years of public hearings, new legislation will permit sidewalk cafes and streeteries to stay up year-round.
Apparently, this new law will make the licensing process for establishments much faster, less expensive, and far more simple. “This new law will cut the red tape and bureaucracy for small business owners to get a license and reduce the fees for restaurants to participate when compared to the overly restrictive and expensive pre-pandemic sidewalk café law, which also excluded thousands of restaurants throughout the five boroughs from ever offering al fresco dining,” expressed NYC Hospitality Alliance.
“This is our moment to transition to a better program that works for our restaurants, workers and communities,” shared Mayor Eric Adams.
Since pandemic-era outdoor dining began, it had primarily applied to Manhattan restaurants south of 96th Street. Now, outdoor dining will be legally permitted for every restaurant across every neighborhood in the five boroughs.
A four-year license fee will be $1,050, approximately half the cost of the previous fee as it was a similar amount but needed to be paid every two years instead. Consent fees will drop from $30 per square foot (for restaurants north of 125th Street in Manhattan and other boroughs) to anywhere between $6-$18 per square foot.
To expedite the process, the approval from the Landmarks Preservation Commission that was previously required will be restricted.
Sidewalk café dining will be permitted year-round from 10am to midnight.
As outlined in the new law, NYC will have seasonal roadway dining from April through November. “We strongly believe it is better to have eight months of roadway than no roadway at all, even if it’s not allowed during the winter as a compromise,” said NYC Hospitality Alliance.
The timeline for the new outdoor dining law is yet to be decided. Therefore, during the transitional period, restaurants operating under the Open Restaurants program will still be able to function as they have “until their application under the new law is acted upon by the city.”
Find out more about the new permanent, year-round outdoor dining law here.