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Outdoor dining is officially returning to New York on Monday

New York City's Phase 2 reopening now includes al fresco dining.

Written by
Bao Ong

Restaurants across New York City had been eagerly awaiting for the go ahead on outdoor dining ever since Governor Andrew Cuomo announced yesterday that New York City could roll out Phase 2 of opening on Monday, June 22. Hair salons, many offices and more retail shops got the green light, but restaurants hoping to jumpstart their hobbling businesses with al fresco dining weren’t sure where they stood with the announcement. 

At a press conference this morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio confirmed through executive order that restaurants can reopen with outdoor dining on Monday—with social-distancing practices. 

“We want to get money back into the pockets of restaurants,” de Blasio said. “It’s time to move forward.”

New Yorkers can expect more sidewalk seating and the city will also experiment with curb lane seating through Labor Day, where restaurants can set up tables on closed off streets. Of the 40 or so miles of streets now off-limits to traffic under the Open Streets initiative, the additional space may be converted to restaurant seating in July.

Before the current crisis, restaurants needed a permit to offer outdoor dining, but the Department of Transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg added that the city’s “Open Restaurants” plan will make it easier for businesses to apply for permits online with a self-certification application (existing alcohol licenses will also extend to the outdoor areas).

Even before today’s official announcement, New Yorkers antsy for social interaction have been gathering outside of restaurants and bars. Government officials balked at instances where large groups spilled onto sidewalks and streets as if they were in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. Over the weekend, Governor Cuomo even tweeted a threat that he would shut down the businesses if proper guidelines weren’t enforced. De Blasio echoed the same sentiments.

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