Thanks to the advocacy of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, Governor Cuomo today announced that outdoor dining at restaurants and bars may begin in Phase 2 of the city's reopening; indoor operations may not resume until Phase 3.
In terms of background, Governor Cuomo and has set up a system of reopening phases for the state, each tied to improved health metrics (new cases, hospitalizations, deaths) to guide safe reopening of the state.
On June 8th, the city will enter Phase 1, reopening construction, retail (limited to curbside or in-store pickup or drop off), agriculture, forestry, fishing and hunting, manufacturing, wholesale trade.
Phase 2: All office based jobs, hair salons, retail, professional services, retail, real estate, and outdoor dining with 50% occupancy and social distancing guidelines to maximize safety and social distancing. Business guidance for phase two of the state's reopening plan is available here.
Phase 3: Restaurants, food services etc.
Phase 4: Arts, sports, education.
NYC is scheduled to enter Phase 1 reopening on June 8th. At least two weeks must pass with certain benchmarks met before the NYC region may enter Phase 2.
While this may be welcome news to businesses eager to reopen, it is very important to note that all reopening dates, requirements and guidance is subject to change without notice based on public health, scientific and other factors, including input and requirements from the City of New York.
With that said, this means that businesses may potentially resume operating their sidewalk cafes and other outdoor spaces at some time in June. This is why we need a swift passage of the City Council's legislation to permit outdoor dining in additional outdoor spaces to be fast tracked into law. The City Council hearing on the outdoor dining legislation is scheduled for tomorrow and the NYC Hospitality Alliance will testify in favor.
This is very good news for slowly moving forward to a time when we can all be together around the table again. I can't wait.