The city’s plan to close off entire streets for outdoor dining will officially begin the weekend of July 3, transportation commissioner Polly Trottenberg announced Friday during a mayoral press conference. Restaurants will have to work with their local community boards and business improvements districts (BID) to apply starting Monday, June 29, on the transportation department’s website.
The city expects that between 10 and 20 city streets will be ready for this style of outdoor dining, which will officially get under on Friday, July 3, at 5 p.m., according to the mayor’s office. An additional 10 to 20 streets are expected to open for outdoor dining by July 17.
This street seating program will only be offered on weekends running from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, and 12 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. The city says it will approve applications within one two to two weeks. Still, the transportation department is yet to identify the streets its closing next weekend as part of this new program.
Street dining is already underway in some parts of the city — including Doyers Street in Chinatown — and the plan to close off streets to vehicular traffic is part of a larger effort to shut up to 100 miles of city streets to encourage social distancing.
Outdoor dining on sidewalks, backyards, and more got underway on Monday, and more than 5,500 restaurants have already applied for these temporary permits. The mayor expects many more restaurants to apply when the open streets program for restaurants gets underway.
Reopenings in New York are coming on the heels of an uptick in COVID-19 cases in several parts of the country that reopened earlier. Restaurants across the country have shuttered with staffers testing positive for the novel coronavirus following the reopening, and earlier today Texas ordered its bars shut after an increase in cases over there.