City Council to Require Restaurant Owners to Dismantle Outdoor Dining Sheds for the Winter

City Council to Require Restaurant Owners to Dismantle Outdoor Dining Sheds for the Winter

By Yehudit Garmaise

New York City’s outdoor dining sheds, which allowed restaurants to stay open for business during the pandemic, will only be allowed to stay up and open from April through November, if the City Council passes a new bill next month.

 According to the plan, starting in November 2024, brave New Yorkers who love to dine outside from December to March can continue to do so, but only on tables and chairs that are stationed on sidewalks and not inside of the sheds.

When the dining sheds are not in use, many residents have complained, the “streeteries” block traffic, take up precious parking spaces, provide refuges for criminal behavior, and attract rodents, speakers have told Community Board 12 at public hearings.

NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie thinks the revised rules for outdoor dining provide compromises for New Yorkers who disagree about whether the outdoor sheds should stay or go.

“We’ve got to move from the emergency program, really standardize, and make it more sustainable, and I think this is a big step forward,” Rigie told Channel 4 NY.

Rigie also wants to make the process of outdoor dining licensure easier and cheaper than has been the case in the past few years.

“Thousands of restaurants” were previously restricted from receiving outdoor dining licenses, said Rigie, who wants to “cut red tape” so restaurant owners experience less hassle, shorter waits, and “significantly” lower fees.

Some restaurant owners wonder whether the cost and hassle of taking down their sheds for four months every year is worth all the effort and expense.

“You have to think of long term: Do I really want to keep it?,” pointed out one Manhattan restaurant owner, whose customers eat in his “streetery” all year long. “Because once you take [the shed] down one time, you don’t know if you want to keep [dismantling and rebuilding it.]”

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