Open Our Streets to Restaurants
Restaurants are the heart and soul of our city, our communities, our families, heck, even our friendships. They are also essential economic engines, shuttered or restricted to take-out since the pandemic.
As we look forward to a time when we can return to the energy and embrace of their dining rooms, a movement is brewing to responsibly and safely open up city streets, sidewalks, plazas, parks and other outdoor spaces to allow restaurants to serve food and beverages outside. These al fresco dining rooms—similar to what you might find in Europe's piazzas—would allow restaurants to offset the loss of business from anticipated indoor occupancy reductions and social distancing requirements due to COVID-19, while bringing a sense of vibrancy, excitement, and normalcy to our city.
The New York City Hospitality Alliance is leading this important movement. Executive director Andrew Rigie co-authored an op-ed with City Council Speaker Corey Johnson explaining the importance of this initiative.
24 City Council also just sent this letter to the Mayor in support of open streets. The City Council members wrote: "We write today to ask that you put a plan in place to expand outdoor seating for restaurants and bars as part of our economic recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. With the possibility of restaurants eventually reopening with 50 percent less indoor capacity for diners, small restaurants throughout the city that already had limited capacity face a tough road ahead. As we expand space for pedestrians to socially distance, the City should follow a plan that we have called for which was recently outlined by Speaker Corey Johnson and the NYC Hospitality Alliance to use sidewalks, streets, and open spaces to help small businesses that have been among the hardest hit."
And now a new short film titled, "STREETFILMS: Open Streets for Restaurants Explained, has been produced by Alliance friend Henry Rinehart. The Alliance's Andrew Rigie makes a cameo alongside chefs and restaurateurs all advocating to make outdoor space available to help restaurants survive the COVID-19 crisis. Please take a few minutes to watch and share this video and support the movement to bring vibrant open street dining to New York City. Tag @theNYCalliance with the hashtag #OpenStreetsNYC. Thank you!