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  • Writer's pictureAndrea Strong

NYC Outdoor Dining Opens June 22nd!

Get ready to return to your favorite (outdoor) restaurants. Today, Mayor Bill de Blasio 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 as New York City begins Phase 2 of reopening on Monday June 22nd.

The City has established an expedited approval processes by allowing restaurants and bars to self-certify their eligibility for curb lane and sidewalk seating using a new, streamlined application process at NYC.Gov, which will be available starting Friday, June 19th. The mayor codified the guidance by signing Executive Order 126.

“Restaurants are the backbone of New York City’s neighborhood culture, and they’ve done their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. It’s our City’s turn to help them reopen safely and responsibly,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These commonsense guidelines will help local businesses get back on their feet – and let New Yorkers safely enjoy the meal they’ve earned.”

The NYC Hospitality Alliance has been a leading advocate for outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. "We know small businesses need to generate revenue if they stand any chance of survival when they're not allowed to operate their indoor restaurant and bar operations, and eventually will only be permitted to operate at a 50% reduced occupancy for some time," said Executive Director Andrew Rigie. "Outdoor dining will provide thousands of restaurants the ability to generate additional revenue that is desperately needed, bring more New Yorkers back to work, provide a greater comfort/safety level to customers who prefer to eat and drink in outdoor spaces, and bring a vibrancy back to the city streets as we enter our journey into recovery."

The City has issued extensive guidelines and requirements for qualifying restaurants to use sidewalk, roadways and other outdoor space to allow for social distance among customers. Rules for compliance include

  • Outdoor seating on sidewalks may not exceed the business’ frontage width.

  • Seating cannot extend past the eight feet 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)

  • 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.

  • Restaurants 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.

In addition, customers are not permitted to gather outside of establishments. Businesses that repeatedly fail to comply will have their Open Restaurant authorization revoked by DOT, and will be referred to the State Liquor Authority.

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 streets closures in July. Restaurants can work with their local BID and DOT to request additional seating in plazas by emailing

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