• New York City unveiled its plan for outdoor dining this week, which will be allowed when the city enters Phase 2 of reopening.
  • The city is set to enter Phase 1 next week, with Phase 2 still weeks to months away, giving restaurants time to plan and build outdoor seating areas.
  • The plan for outdoor dining will utilize sidewalks, curb sides, and open streets.
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New York City unveiled on Thursday its plan for outdoor dining as the city is set to enter its first phase of gradual reopening.

Eventually, restaurants will be able to use sidewalks, curb sides, and open streets for outdoor dining service, the mayor’s office said in a statement.

“New York’s restaurants are part of what make us the greatest city in the world. They’ve taken a hit in our fight against COVID-19 – and there’s no recovery without them,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

Outdoor dining will be allowed when the city enters Phase 2 of New York state’s reopening plan, which is still weeks to months away. The city is set to enter Phase 1 next week. Phase 1 allows the construction, agriculture, retail, and manufacturing industries to return to work, with some modifications (retail will be limited to curbside or in-store pickup).

Phase 2 allows nonessential businesses, excluding malls, casinos, gyms, and movie theaters, among others, to reopen. The second phase also allows office workers to return to work.

In Phase 2, restaurants will not be allowed to offer indoor dine-in service, but will be able to serve customers outdoors. The decision to use curb sides and open streets was praised by New York City council members as well as industry advocacy groups.

Outdoor dining is relatively low-risk, as long as diners are seated at least 6 feet away from each other, because of the increased air flow, Susan Hassig, an associate professor of epidemiology at the Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine in New Orleans, previously told Business Insider.

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Here’s how the outdoor dining plan will work in New York City:

Curbside seating

  • Restaurants in “commercial corridors” will be able to convert parking spaces for dining service.
  • They will need to supply their own barricades and planters to block the area from the road.
  • The city will allow restaurants to register and certify themselves online to expedite the process, but they must comply with guidelines like not blocking bus stops, fire hydrants, and intersections.

Open streets

  • New York City has opened over 45 miles of streets to pedestrians, closing them to traffic, and plans to open 100 miles of roads across the city.
  • Restaurants will be able to utilize the street space in front of their locations.
  • The city is also working to identify specific streets with a heavy concentration of restaurants and bars as it opens more streets.

Sidewalks

  • The city is simplifying the process for restaurants to use sidewalks for seating.
  • Restaurants will still need to maintain space on sidewalks for pedestrians, including those with disabilities.