Restaurateurs and customers applaud order allowing outdoor dining
Restaurateurs and customers are applauding the decision to let eateries continue seating customers on streets and sidewalks for at least another year.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday that will allow restaurants to continue to use municipal spaces, including sidewalks and streets, for outdoor dining.
The law, which was initially issued in June 2020 under an executive order by Cuomo, allows restaurants to continue using the public spaces for one more year as they recover from the financial strains caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The governor's office says restaurant usage of outdoor public space must meet all federal, state, and local laws, rules, and guidance, according to the signed legislation.
It said restaurants must also have a temporary use permit from the municipality, which is tasked with ensuring the public space is used in a safe, orderly manner.
Many restaurant owners tell News 12 they would’ve gone under without outdoor dining during the pandemic. “We have a lot of people moving up from the city in the past year, so we have this new customer base where they want to sit outside. They are repeat customers, haven’t been inside for most of the amount of time that they’ve been here,” says Parkway Café co-owner Andrew Cucolo.
And with variants of the coronavirus continuing to spread, there are customers who say they’d take the fresh air over indoor seating. "I think it's a great idea because I definitely am still comfortable eating outside, but not inside, and also because it's better for the restaurants," says Janet Fields. "With the availability of tables outside, I prefer to sit outside. It set a precedent for us to be able to really continue this nice al fresco dining on a go forward basis," adds Jackie Barrett.