Brooklyn Boro

Brooklyn restaurants counter indoor dining ban with heated outdoor spaces

December 15, 2020 Raanan Geberer
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While it’s safe to say that the entire New York City restaurant industry is dismayed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s latest ban on indoor dining, announced last Friday, some Brooklyn restaurateurs have acted to counter the ban to buying heaters and heating their outdoor and semi-outdoor tables.

No New Yorker could have failed to notice the semi-enclosed wooden-and-plexiglass street-side patios being erected outside restaurants during the past few months. Some restaurants, perhaps anticipating such a ban, have equipped, or planned to equip these spaces with heaters. 

And it’s not only those with enclosed spaces — even some with totally open patios have brought in heaters. Some are providing blankets as well.

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Electric heaters are safer and are preferred, but to help restaurants out, the city has also for the first time legalized propane heaters, although with more stringent safety regulations.

Grand Army on State Street in Boerum Hill, with its semi-outdoor enclosure in front. Google maps photo

The Brooklyn restaurants listed as having installed heaters for outdoor dining by two websites, Secret NYC and New York Eater, tend to be in two areas: Williamsburg and nearby areas; and Brooklyn Heights-Downtown and their neighboring areas, such as Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Boerum Hill and Fort Greene.

Some of the restaurants listed by the websites are Olmsted in Prospect Heights, The Kitchen at Cobble Hill, Dellarocco’s in Brooklyn Heights, Ainslie in Williamsburg, Osprey next to Brooklyn Bridge Park, Miss Ada in Fort Greene, Grand Army in Boerum Hill and Forino pizza in Greenpoint.

If it snows heavily, however, even the heaters aren’t going to help you. According to Gothamist, when there’s more than an inch of snow, restaurateurs will have to suspend outdoor dining, secure furniture and remove electric  heaters. 

If there is less than one inch of snow, Sanitation Department regulations say, restaurants can stay open but will have to regularly clear the sidewalks of snow and ice and use “snow sticks” for visibility.


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