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NYC May Enter Second Phase Of Reopening Next Week, But No Word Yet on Outdoor Dining

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Mayor Bill de Blasio previously said NYC won’t get outdoor dining until July

Tables and chairs are set outside restaurants on Lafayette St.
Tables and chairs are set outside restaurants on Lafayette Street, in Soho
Gary He/Eater

New York City is on track to move into the second phase of its reopening process on June 22, Gov. Andrew Cuomo confirmed at a press conference on Wednesday. Broadly, restaurants across the state in phase two of reopening can offer outdoor dining, but NYC officials have not clarified whether restaurants in the city will be able to offer outdoor seating from Monday as well.

NYC is the only region in the state that is yet to move to the second phase of reopening, and the other regions that have, already have outdoor dining measures in place. Mayor Bill de Blasio previously said that the city might not get outdoor dining until early July, but his office did say this week that more detailed guidelines on outdoor dining were imminent.

“We’re just in a few days going to make a decision on phase two and that will change the whole reality,” de Blasio said in a press conference on Wednesday.

Still, the announcement today is likely to cause more confusion for restaurant and bar owners in the city. Many owners have previously said that they don’t have any clarity from the city on how to prepare for outdoor dining, and others still have taken matters into their own hands setting out tables and chairs on sidewalks despite restrictions in place against it.

During his initial announcement earlier this month, de Blasio said the city’s transportation department was working to identify streets that could be closed off to vehicles to allow for outdoor dining, and that a simplified process for restaurants to apply for outdoor dining permits would also be introduced. That information will likely be part of the guidelines that the city plans to release this week.

In New York regions that have moved into the second phase of the reopening, several other industries have been allowed to reopen as well including hair salons, real estate and rental-leasing offices, and places of worship. Restaurants in the city will be able to offer indoor-dining at half capacity some time in July. While the COVID-19 infection rate has rapidly declined in NYC in recent weeks, more than 17,000 New Yorkers have died from the virus since the start of the pandemic, and more than 200,000 New Yorkers contracted the novel coronavirus.

With additional reporting by Erika Adams and Ryan Sutton