Newly proposed bill would allow permanent outdoor dining in NYC
Outdoor dining could be the norm in New York City, thanks to a bill that would allow restaurants to continue expanding their dining rooms to the sidewalks and streets.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, many restaurants outside of Manhattan were restricted from having outdoor dining due to zoning restrictions and the high fees that came with it. During the pandemic, however, the city established the temporary Open Restaurants Program, which allowed establishments to offer outdoor seating at no cost to the business.
The program became a lifeline for eateries when indoor dining was prohibited.
This new proposed bill removes those zoning restrictions and refines the costs for businesses based on square footage and location.
Restaurant owners News 12 spoke with on Friday said outdoor dining is a profitable addition to their businesses. They also said it is something they hope to be able to keep for good.
"I never thought we could do it on Arthur Avenue, but it's actually worked out nicely and our customers love to sit outside," said Regina Migliucci-Delfino, owner of Mario's in Bronx's Little Italy.
"A lot of places that have structures that aren't using them, shouldn't have them and the ones that are using them, there should be a certain standard," said manager of Enzo's of Arthur Avenue, Jimmy Cowan.
Under this bill, restaurants would be required to take down roadway dining structures during the winter, which owners say could be difficult to figure out removal and storage of more permanent structures.
The bill is expected to be voted on next month.