You are reading

City Council Introduces Outdoor Dining Bill, Aims to Help Restaurants Stay Afloat

Outdoor Dining at Soleluna in Sunnyside (Queens Post File Photo)

May 29, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Council Speaker Corey Johnson introduced legislation Thursday that would require the city to open up sidewalks and street space for outdoor dining, with the aim of helping restaurants get through the coronavirus pandemic.

The legislation — sponsored by several council members including Donovan Richards and Jimmy Van Bramer — calls for the city to identity streets, sidewalks and plazas where restaurants could operate while following social distancing requirements.

The bill if passed would require the Department of Transportation to identify open spaces where restaurants and bars could serve patrons, while preventing the spread of COVID-19.

The plan would see the DOT blocking off streets or plazas to allow eateries to set up tables where diners could be spaced safety apart. The legislation would also allow restaurants located in areas zoned for sidewalk cafes to receive a temporary sidewalk license — at no cost — to put up tables outside their establishment.

The council members want these plans in place by the time bars and restaurants are permitted to reopen, which is still expected to be weeks away.

Restaurants and bars will not be able to reopen for onsite dining until phase three of the state’s four-phase reopening plan. New York City is the only region that has not begun reopening — though the mayor says it will likely enter phase one in the first or second week of June.

However, when restaurants and bars are finally allowed to fully reopen, they are unlikely to be able to operate at full capacity. The outdoor dining space, the legislators say, will allow them to have more room to space out customers and tables.

“At a time when our industry is struggling to make ends meet, this type of creative and innovative policy will serve as a lifeline to the restaurant and bar industry,” said Jeffrey Garcia, President of the NYS Latino Restaurant, Bar & Lounge Association.

Increasing research also shows that COVID-19 is more difficult to contract outdoors.

“Expanding outdoor dining space will not only help these restaurants thrive financially but give our City a sense of normalcy,” Johnson said. “The restaurant industry is a huge part of New York City. No matter where you live, you love your local restaurants.”
The provisions contained in the bill would expire Oct. 31 or whenever social distancing rules are lifted. 

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Gunman who fired shots at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City remains at large: NYPD

Police from the 114th Precinct in Astoria and PSA 9 are continuing their search for a gunman who allegedly opened fire at the Ravenswood Houses in Long Island City last month.

The incident occurred during the early morning hours of Wednesday, Jan. 18, when officers responded to a 911 call and a ShotSpotter activation for multiple shots fired at 21-25 35 Ave. at the Ravenswood Houses NYCHA complex just after 2 a.m., according to authorities.

Popular places where you can watch the Super Bowl in Queens

Feb. 2, 2023 By Tammy Scileppi

Hey, football fans! Game time is fast approaching, and across the city and here in Queens, you can feel the excitement brewing as the two teams prepare to take the field on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 12. So, kick back and watch the big game, and don’t miss Rihanna’s exciting performance during halftime. 

Borough president hears from community members on budget needs throughout Queens

During a two-day public hearing on the mayor’s 2024 preliminary budget, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. listened to testimonies from 14 community board representatives, community stakeholders and members of the public on where the money should be spent in Queens. 

The public hearings were held both in-person and via Zoom on Monday, Jan. 30, and Tuesday, Jan. 31, at Queens Borough Hall. The testimonials will be used to develop the Queens Borough Board’s FY24 preliminary budget priorities in the coming weeks. 

‘He didn’t deserve to die’: Borough President Richards leads emotional candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols

Queens Borough President Donovan Richards held a candlelight vigil for Tyre Nichols outside Queens Borough Hall Monday, Jan. 30 after Nichols’ death at the hands of police officers in Memphis, Tenn., made national headlines for the brutality in which the officers beat him.

Almost immediately after news broke about Nichols’ death, the Memphis police officers who beat him to death were fired and charged with murder. The police department released the body cam footage of the fatal beating on Jan. 27, but many people, including some at the vigil, have refused to watch it due to its extremely graphic nature.

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.