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City Council Passes Bill to Extend Outdoor Dining Program and Make it Permanent

Outdoor dining at American Brass in Long Island City (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Oct. 15, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The City Council passed a bill today to extend New York City’s outdoor dining program through next September — and at that point make a variation of it permanent.

The legislation extends the current outdoor dining program called “Open Restaurants” until Sept. 30, 2021. The current program allows eateries to serve customers on sidewalks, curbsides and select streets.

The program will then be replaced on Sept. 30, 2021 by a new plan that will also allow the use of roadway seating as outdoor dining areas, the legislation states.

The legislation also allows the use of portable electric and propane heaters in outdoor dining areas, subject to guidelines issued by the FDNY.

The newly-passed bill, sponsored by Ridgewood Council Member Antonio Reynoso, essentially codifies an earlier announcement by Mayor Bill de Blasio into law. The mayor announced Sept. 25 that the Open Restaurants program would be permanent.

The Queens Chamber of Commerce applauded the City Council for voting to make outdoor dining permanent, which it said would help struggling restaurant owners stay afloat.

“Outdoor dining has not just been a hit with restaurant goers, it has allowed our cherished neighborhood establishments to keep New Yorkers employed and bring in some desperately needed revenue,” said Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech. “We are delighted that the program has been made permanent.”

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