Hoboken releases plan to extend outdoor dining through the winter

September 16, 2020

Expanded outdoor dining on 14th Street through Hoboken’s Summer Streets, courtesy of Mayor Bhalla’s office

Hoboken Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla seems to always be one step ahead of his counterpart in NYC when it comes to social COVID preparations. And this time, he’s planning to extend outdoor dining straight through to 2021. Yesterday, Mayor Bhalla and the Hoboken City Council released guidelines on safe, outdoor heating options, application information for businesses to continue participating, and procedures on snow removal.

A map of all currently approved streateries and parklets in Hoboken

In early May, Mayor Bhalla started Hoboken’s open streets initiative, which created more socially distanced open space for pedestrians and cyclists. Another step Mayor Bhalla took in May was to allow gyms to use parks and fields for outdoor workout classes. This was all part of his more comprehensive small business recovery strategy, which included a plan for outdoor dining about a month before Mayor de Blasio made his own plan public.

Since the spring, Hoboken restaurants have been able to set up outdoor seating in curbside parking spots as streateries (daily seating for takeout food and drink) and parklets (temporary platforms for waiter service). They’ve also been able to enjoy outdoor dining on several open streets that are closed to traffic on Thursdays and Sundays.

There are currently 50 approved streateries and parklets in Hoboken. These permits expire on October 31, and those wishing to extend must do so by October 15. New applications for these, as well as sidewalk cafes, will be accepted through October 1.

When it comes to heating, both electric and propane heaters will be allowed with approvals from the Building Department (electric) and Fire Department (propane). Approval from the Fire Department is required for any seasonal canopy larger than 10’ x 10’. The guidelines provide information on snow removal, as well.

The city of Hoboken also took into account feedback from local residents on noise and will be enacting the following:

  • Outdoor dining will close every day by 11pm
  • No DJs and no amplified music, broadcast announcements or speakers are allowed
  • Live acoustic music is permitted until 10pm
  • TVs and projectors are allowed but must be on mute

Though New Jersey has been open for indoor dining since Labor Day weekend, this only permits 25-percent occupancy, which makes outdoor dining even more important. “We are committed to working with our businesses to continue keeping as many people as possible outdoors in a safe and comfortable environment during [the] upcoming winter months,” said Mayor Bhalla in a statement.

New York City will reopen for indoor dining on September 30 with 25 percent capacity, and Mayor de Blasio previously extended outdoor dining through October. He also promised that outdoor dining will return next summer. But restaurants are still concerned about the winter, with so many unknowns about a second wave or if indoor dining may prove problematic. Currently, there are more than 10,000 restaurants participating in NYC’s Open Restaurants program.


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