Outdoor Dining is Officially Here to Stay

Last Wednesday, Mayor Eric Adams signed Intro 31 into law, permanently cementing the popular pandemic-era program that once allowed dining sheds year-round and let restaurants use street space without a fee. But with the program now law, there will be a few crucial changes.

Under the new measure, the city’s transportation department will oversee a program that permits roadway cafes from April to November — the warmest months of the year — and sidewalk seating year-round. Restaurant owners will have to apply for the appropriate permits, which will be issued every four years.

During the height of the pandemic, the Bill de Blasio administration greenlit outdoor dining across the city to boost restaurants’ profits after public health mandates forced them to close their doors. Since the program launched, the number of outdoor dining spots has exploded across all five boroughs, rising from 1,000 locations to 12,000, according to a report released earlier this year.

But the new requirements could end up shrinking outdoor dining in the city for restaurant owners that can’t afford the permits or the process of removing the sheds for a period of time each year. Restaurant owners can pay up to $25 per square foot for roadway cafes and $31 per square foot for sidewalk cafes. Continuing outdoor dining could also pose an obstacle for Adams’ continued campaign to erode the city’s insidious rat population. You can read more here

We have been anxiously awaiting what the final outcome of outdoor dining will be. I for one am in favor of it, though I prefer sidewalk dining to the street sheds. I remember dining outside in 19 degree weather during covid just to eat at a restaurant. We have come so far. Enjoy the last licks of summer! 


Warm regards,

Stacey Froelich 

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