Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday that the city will extend the ongoing Open Restaurants program — which allows restaurants and bars to expand seating onto sidewalks, curbsides, and parking spaces — till October 31 this year.
De Blasio also announced the addition of 26 new streets to the Open Streets program, where entire streets are closed off to traffic over weekends to allow more room for outdoor dining.
Nearly 9,000 restaurants have already been certified to offer outdoor dining, and announcement of the extension should come as a boost to the city’s restaurants and bars, which are facing uncertainty on when it might be safe to return to indoor dining. The mayor reiterated Friday that indoor dining would not resume in the fourth phase of reopening, which is set to get underway Monday, July 20.
“The open restaurants program has worked,” de Blasio said at the press conference on Friday. “It has brought back jobs, and it has been safe.”
The mayor’s comments, though, don’t necessarily line up with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s, who yesterday introduced a three strike rule for restaurants and bars not enforcing social distancing. Cuomo said state officials had investigated 5,000 restaurants and bars — mostly downstate and in NYC — and found a “widespread lack of compliance,” in regards to social distancing. Still, de Blasio insisted at the press conference Friday that most restaurants and bars in the city were in compliance.
NYC is still faring much better in managing the coronavirus crisis than many other parts of the country, and new cases remained at two percent on Friday, according to the mayor. The steady health data is part of what’s buoyed de Blasio to continue expanding the city’s outdoor dining efforts.
The 26 new streets announced Friday — which are largely located in Manhattan, but include parts of Brooklyn and Queens too — join the 21 streets that were already announced for weekend closures, which take place Fridays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays, from noon to 11 p.m.
The full list of locations is below: