After a grueling three months, New York City is ready to begin moving more people back to work in Phase 2 of reopening from the Covid-19 shutdown. This allows employees of offices, real estate services & retailers to return to work. Barbershops & hair salons may reopen but gyms & theaters cannot. Restaurants and bars may continue to serve takeout and delivery orders, as well as provide outdoor dining, but may not allow patrons inside.
New York City’s outdoor dining plan includes five options:
- Curb-lane seating will let restaurants set up seats in parking lots or along curbs adjacent to their establishment (Allowed till Labor Day)
- Basic sidewalk seating (Allowed till October)
- Open-street seating will begin in July and will be coordinated by the Department of Transportation (DOT) and community groups.
- Backyard and patio seating will be permitted where appropriate
- Following DOT approval, Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) will work with restaurants to extend seating into public plazas
At a press conference signing the executive order New York City Mayor, Bill de Blasio said the application process for any restaurant to apply for the seating and regulation measures will be done online and that the application process will be simple and streamlined. Bar and restaurant owners who are interested, should apply over the weekend to be ready for Monday, June 22nd.
A caveat to outdoor dining is that bars and restaurants will be responsible for enforcing social distancing on sidewalks near their premises, per a new executive order announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo. A follow up executive order will allow the State Liquor Authority (SLA) to immediately revoke the liquor license or order the shutdown of any business that fails to obey. This is where things can become problematic without a clear enforcement plan, specifically what the NYPD can and cannot be doing. Fortunately, in many cases, the restaurant/bar staff will be able to ensure social distancing and cut off people who are being problematic. However, there is only so much they will be able to do on public streets.