Cuomo Extends Outdoor Dining for Another Year
Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law today that renews for 12 more months last year’s executive order that allowed restaurants and bars statewide to use sidewalks, parking spots, and other communal spaces to serve diners outside.
The bill, which easily passed through New York’s legislature last month, not only extends New Yorkers’ enjoyment of eating outside: a practice that was started to accommodate diners during COVID, but the bill was intended to assist New York’s hard-hit hospitality industry, which is struggling to recover from the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
“It’s important that we learn from the past and capitalize on those efforts that helped so many of New York’s small businesses survive amid the global pandemic,” Gov. Cuomo said after signing the bill. “By extending the much-needed lifeline that allowed restaurants to use outdoor public spaces for seating during the pandemic, New York is ensuring that these small businesses will be able to continue to use these spaces as they work to rebuild."
Brooklyn state Sen. Roxanne Persaud, who co-wrote the bill signed by Gov. Cuomo with Albany Assemblywoman Patricia Fahy, said the 12-month extension is critical for the survival of restaurants statewide.
Eating outdoors was not just a sanity-saver for many New Yorkers during the pandemic, but Mayor Bill de Blasio, who signed a similar executive order last summer when he created the city’s “Open Restaurants” program, estimated that his initiative saved the jobs of 100,000 restaurant workers citywide.
After many restaurants in the city built beautiful wooden outdoor structures, which are often decorated with lights, flowers, and colorful paintings, many New Yorkers found they enjoyed eating al fresco, and Mayor de Blasio said he would make the Open Restaurants program a permanent feature of the cityscape.
However, the mayor would likely need the state’s backing to do so. As Gov. Cuomo’s bill extends outdoor service for another year, the next mayor of New York City will have to navigate “Open Restaurants” with the governor next summer.
(Photo by: Don Pollard / Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)