NYC’S National Leading Outdoor Dining Initiative Surpasses Milestone Of 10,000 Participants

Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that more than 10,000 restaurants are now participating in New York City’s outdoor dining initiative, Open Restaurants. The program has allowed businesses to add socially distant seating on sidewalks, in curbside parking spaces, as well as select car-free Open Streets and pedestrian plazas on weekends.

In just over three months, Open Restaurants has saved an estimated 90,000 jobs across the five boroughs.

The Mayor also announced that Open Streets: Restaurants, the City’s car-free weekend outdoor dining program, will be operational on Labor Day, giving restaurants on 81 streets citywide an extra day of increased business. Partner organizations managing these streets can now apply for hours of weekday street closures.

“Outdoor dining has been a lifeline for an industry that has been hit hard by COVID-19. With cooler weather on the way, we’ll continue to find new, creative ways to keep New Yorkers safe and support the businesses that make our city great.”

“It’s time for a new New York City tradition: the Open Restaurants program is here to stay,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Outdoor dining has been a lifeline for an industry that has been hit hard by COVID-19. With cooler weather on the way, we’ll continue to find new, creative ways to keep New Yorkers safe and support the businesses that make our city great.”

“Outdoor dining has been a crucial lifeline to the restaurant industry during this pandemic, and this milestone is a testament to the success and enthusiasm that has come with it,” said Deputy Mayor Laura Anglin. “The Open Restaurants program has brought back tens of thousands of jobs and given New Yorkers a safe way to enjoy their favorite neighborhood spots. This program has forever reshaped New York City streets and will continue to find creative ways to help businesses during these uncertain times.”

“We are so proud to see that more than 10,000 restaurants have stepped up to utilize outdoor dining space, saving tens of thousands of jobs in neighborhoods across all five boroughs,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We thank Mayor de Blasio and all of our agency partners and community organizations for the vision and hard work it has taken to reimagine street space in a time of crisis. Open Restaurants has been a truly inspiring team effort to help a critical but struggling part of New York’s culture and economy survive as the city works to emerge from COVID-19.”

The hours of operation for Open Streets: Restaurants corridors are generally from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday nights, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays. Weekend hours will be in effect during the Labor Day holiday on Monday, September 7.

“This 10,000-restaurant milestone is huge! I’m glad the City has moved so quickly to make outdoor dining possible. I urge the Mayor to make arrangements for this winter that lets these restaurants maintain their outdoor seating at their discretion and keep their plazas intact so they can continue to recuperate from the losses they suffered during the height of the pandemic,”

“This 10,000-restaurant milestone is huge! I’m glad the City has moved so quickly to make outdoor dining possible. I urge the Mayor to make arrangements for this winter that lets these restaurants maintain their outdoor seating at their discretion and keep their plazas intact so they can continue to recuperate from the losses they suffered during the height of the pandemic,” said State Senator Robert Jackson.

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“I am thrilled to hear that over 10,000 restaurants are now participating in the Open Restaurants program and that it is here to stay. I thank the Mayor for bringing this innovative program to our city. Open Restaurants has saved many businesses from closing while maintaining safety standards and reshaping the landscape of our city with open-air dining. As the seasons change, we will need to continue to find ways to help New York’s restaurants – many of which are MWBE’s – to recover,” said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte.

“Restaurants are an integral part of the lifeblood of our communities, and it is encouraging to see so many of these business owners avail themselves of the Open Restaurants program. As we continue to work towards a post-pandemic life, restaurant owners should know that they will always be part of the New York zeitgeist. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio, Commissioner Trottenberg, and all of the entrepreneurs who have done their best to make lemonade out of COVID lemons,” said Assembly Member Jeffrey Dinowitz.

“The open dining program is a great small business success story for New York City, but many restaurants are still waiting for a seat at the table. We need to continue refining this important program and come up with creative ideas for restaurants burdened with limited access in congested areas, including those in food courts, basements, and higher floors,” said Council Member Peter Koo.

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