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Many New York State Restaurants Can Start Outdoor Dining Thursday

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Gov. Andrew Cuomo says restaurants in the state can have outdoor dining in the second phase of reopening — which means NYC could get it as soon as June 22

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo speaks during a Coronavirus Briefing At Northwell Feinstein Institute For Medical Research on May 06, 2020 in Manhasset, New York.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo
Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images

Following weeks of calls from restaurant owners and local elected officials, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Wednesday that restaurants in New York state can have outdoor dining in the second phase of reopening. That means seven regions in the state — though not New York City yet — can have outdoor dining starting June 4.

Restaurants offering outdoor dining will have to have tables places six feet apart, require staffers to wear face coverings, and require customers to wear coverings as well, when they aren’t seated. While Cuomo has previously expressed support for outdoor dining, this is the first time the state has made any kind of official announcement about outdoor dining.

According to the New York State Restaurant Association, restaurants located in regions that are entering phase two of reopening tomorrow would still “need approval from local entities” in order to operate outdoor dining, a spokesperson says.

A representative for the governor confirmed that restaurants still have to comply by local regulations for outdoor dining. In NYC, for instance, restaurants and bars must secure specific permits before setting up tables outside on the sidewalk.

Cuomo’s office is also yet to issue any guidelines for indoor dining, which remains in the third phase of the reopening. Eater has reached out to Cuomo’s office for clarification.

Cuomo announced last week that NYC was on track for its first phase of reopening in the week of June 8, health statistics permitting. If all goes according to plan, this latest announcement could mean that New York City would have outdoor dining as early as June 22. Though, again, it’s not yet clear if this will apply to restaurants that don’t already have designated outdoor seating areas.

City Council introduced legislation last week that would push the city to provide a solid framework for what outdoor dining could like in the city, and to significantly shorten the time-period in which restaurants can apply for, and receive permits for outdoor seating.

As for New York State, the Capital Region, Central New York, the Finger Lakes, the Mohawk Valley, the North Country, the Southern Tier and Western New York, will all be able to have outdoor dining starting tomorrow.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned for more details.

With additional reporting by Erika Adams