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Restaurants get more space to start Phase 2 reopening

Mayor Bill de Blasio has unveiled guidance for the City’s Open Restaurants program, which allows qualifying restaurants and bars to expand outdoor seating on sidewalks, curb lanes, backyards, patios, plazas, and Open Streets as New York City begins Phase 2 of reopening.

The City has established an expedited approval processes by allowing restaurants and bars to self-certify their eligibility for curb lane and sidewalk seating using a new, streamlined application process at NYC.Gov, which will be available starting Friday, June 19th. The mayor codified the guidance by signing Executive Order 126.

Restaurants can utilize curb lanes and work with local BIDS to use plaza space

“Restaurants are the backbone of New York City’s neighborhood culture, and they’ve done their part in slowing the spread of COVID-19. It’s our City’s turn to help them reopen safely and responsibly,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “These commonsense guidelines will help local businesses get back on their feet – and let New Yorkers safely enjoy the meal they’ve earned.”

“New York has faced extraordinary times in 2020, and Open Restaurants is an extraordinary next step for us.” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “This summer, as we enter this next phase, we want New Yorkers to go out and enjoy their beloved restaurants — but we want them to do so safely and responsibly. We will monitor this program closely to make sure we do not see any unintended consequences. As with our Open Streets program, we are hopeful that regular New Yorkers will also help make this new program work.”

The city is home to over 27,000 restaurants. Open Restaurants gives them  five new options. Beginning in Phase 2, restaurants can implement seating in curb lanes and sidewalks. Phase 2 allows reopening and use of as of right outdoor space in backyard and patios.

Restaurants can also work with their local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to establish seating in plazas. Beginning in July, restaurants can offer seating on Open Streets on nights and weekends.

Sidewalk seating will be in effect until the end of October. Curb lane seating will last through Labor Day. DOT will work with community groups and partner agencies to identify additional seating within full streets closures in July.

Restaurants can work with their local BID and DOT to request additional seating in plazas by emailing

Customers are not permitted to gather outside of establishments. Businesses that repeatedly fail to comply will have their Open Restaurant authorization revoked by DOT, and will be referred to the SLA.


“New York City’s hospitality industry needed some good news, and the outdoor dining plan unveiled today will help thousands of restaurants and bars begin to reassemble their businesses and recuperate from the financial devastation this pandemic has caused,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director and Robert Bookman, General & Legislative Counsel, NYC Hospitality Alliance.

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