Open Restaurants to return next summer, but the wait for indoor dining goes on

August 12, 2020 Jaime DeJesus
Open Restaurants to return next summer, but the wait for indoor dining goes on
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Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Open Restaurants program, which allows restaurants to serve customers on sidewalks and curb lanes, will return next summer.

Outdoor dining will return to the city by June 1, 2021 and run through Oct. 31. The city will also bring back a popular initiative that combines Open Restaurants with Open Streets.

According to the mayor, more than 9,000 restaurants have signed up for the program, helping to save nearly 80,000 New York City jobs since June.

“New Yorkers deserve the chance to enjoy their meals outside next summer, and restaurants deserve the chance to continue building their businesses back,” said de Blasio.

“This is good news for restaurants and the many of us who love them,” said State Senator Andrew Gounardes. “My colleagues and I urged that this program become permanent and I’m very glad it will be coming back.”

In July, Gounardes and Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus asked that the program continue beyond its original expected end date in October.

There is still no opening date in sight for the return of indoor dining.

“Today, there is still no cure, no vaccine and no immunity [for COVID-19],” said Councilmember Justin Brannan. “Rushing back to 100% indoor dining and indoor gatherings was a disaster in other states and led to spikes in COVID cases and more death. Nobody wants that.”

Some wonder if local eateries can survive without the revenue indoor dining provides.

“Why is New York City being treated differently than the rest of the state when it comes to indoor dining?” asked Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis. “We have met the metrics and are past phase 4 yet no one has given these restaurants any indication of when they will be able to reopen, even partially. They have mortgages and rents to pay, their employees have families to support and customers want to plan life events, but there’s no information.”

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