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De Blasio confirms Phase 2 starts Monday, announces Open Restaurants program

June 18, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
De Blasio confirms Phase 2 starts Monday, announces Open Restaurants program
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Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed that the next phase of reopening the city will begin on Monday, June 22.

On Thursday, de Blasio also 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.

The city has also established an expedited approval process by allowing restaurants and bars to self-certify their eligibility for curb lane and sidewalk seating. This will be done using a new application process at nyc.gov, which will be available starting Friday, June 19.

“Restaurants are the backbone of New York City’s neighborhood culture, and they’ve done their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19,” he said. “It’s our city’s turn to help them reopen safely and responsibly.”

During Phase 2, Open Restaurants gives dining establishments several options. Restaurants can implement seating in curb lanes and sidewalks; allow reopening and use of as-of-right outdoor space in backyards and patios; work with their local Business Improvement Districts to establish seating in plazas; and, starting in July, they 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 street closures in July.

There are rules of compliance

Outdoor seating on sidewalks may not exceed the business’ frontage width; seating cannot extend past the eight-foot depth of the curb lane, and it cannot block bus stops, No Standing/No Stopping Anytime zones, doorways or FDNY access, e.g. within 15 feet of a fire hydrant.

Other rules state 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 and 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 also not permitted to gather outside of establishments. Businesses that repeatedly fail to comply will have their Open Restaurants authorization revoked by DOT and will be referred to the SLA.

Elected officials responded to the announcement.

“Giving restaurants a wide array of options for outdoor seating is a necessity to ensure these businesses stay afloat while we manage a safe reopening process,” said Borough President Eric Adams. “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.”

“Let’s welcome reopening restaurants by patronizing them, but let’s also be sure to observe strict social distancing at all times,” said Assemblymember Felix Ortiz.

“Whether you eat out or order in, restaurants are the backbone of our neighborhood economies,” said Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus. “New Yorkers should continue to be safe, take proper precautions, and support local businesses.”

“I am thrilled that the mayor has heeded the call from restaurant owners across the city to provide safe options for outdoor dining,” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “The COVID-19 crisis left our city’s restaurants withering on the vine – relief is desperately needed to make sure they can survive the coming months.”


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