As New York City heads into an uncertain winter, outdoor dining serves as a crucial lifeline to many restaurants, especially given changing restrictions as Covid-19 is spiking around the country. The NYC Department of Transportation has shifted guidelines once again headed into the winter months.
Changes to roadway barriers include:
- All 18” roadway barriers must be filled with soil or sand
- Barriers must have a fully built interior wall and bottom to hold filler material
- Continuous reflector tape must be added along the top outside edges, and snow sticks must be added to the corners of the two barriers facing traffic
- During an active snow alert:
- Diners may not sit in roadway setups. Tables and chair must be removed or secured
- All electrical heaters in roadway setups must be removed
- If possible, remove any overhead coverings or regularly remove the snow until the snow alert ends
- If 12” or more of snow is forecast:
- Remove or consolidate roadway setups to have as small a footprint as possible along the curb
- If unable to remove or consolidate roadway setup, take steps to protect assets from damage due to snow removal operations. The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has conducted training exercises that included simulated snow removal operations on narrow streets with roadway setups on both sides. DSNY will conduct targeted outreach to restaurants to ensure setups meet NYC DOT siting criteria and that roads can be efficiently plowed and remain passable
- Use snow sticks to increase visibility of your setup components if they are moved
By December 15, 2020 Sandbags, reflector tape, snow sticks, and plastic barriers will be available to all participants, free of charge. Participating restaurants will be emailed with distribution and pickup detail. Limited deliveries of plastic barriers will be made to the “high priority” restaurants; those restaurants will be contacted separately.
Frustratingly for many restaurant and bar owners, they once again must figure out how to retrofit their outdoor setups to remain compliant in the wake of new requirements.