Outdoor dining on West 71st Street between Central Park West and Columbus. Photo by 6sqft.
In a press conference this morning, Mayor de Blasio announced that the city’s popular Open Restaurants program will return on June 1, 2021, if not earlier in the spring. He recently expanded this year’s outdoor dining program through October 31 after it was found to be successful and safe and after the state indefinitely postponed indoor dining in New York City. De Blasio said that an estimated 80,000 jobs from more than 9,000 participating businesses have been saved since the program launched on June 22 when the city entered phase two of reopening.
“I wanted to say it now because I want people in communities to look forward and see that we’re going to keep coming back strong. I want the folks who own the restaurants to know that they’re going to have that additional revenue going forward. The folks who work in the restaurants to know that whatever else we have to weather, we have seen that this experiment worked,” said the mayor.
There are currently about 9,700 restaurants participating in Open Restaurants. Though the announcement is certainly good news, many restaurants are still not able to make ends meet without indoor dining. There’s been no word on when this will resume and what happens after October 31. A survey released today by the NYC Hospitality Alliance found that 83 percent of restaurants and bars could not pay their full rent in July, and 37 percent paid no rent at all.
Last week, NYC Council Member Keith Powers released a report with suggested ways to save small businesses in the wake of the COVID crisis. These included providing emergency rent relief using federal funds, waiving the commercial rent tax, and making outdoor dining permanent.
Open Restaurants allows restaurants to set up seating on sidewalks and curb cuts, in adjacent parking spots, and on certain open streets. For now, the tentative 2021 schedule for the program is June 1 through October 31, though the mayor did say it could potentially begin earlier in the spring. It will also once again include the popular initiative that allows restaurants to set up seating on participating open streets.
New Yorkers can search all of the current participating Open Restaurants on the city’s interactive map.
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