New York City legislators passed a bill to make outdoor dining a permanent fixture in the Big Apple, but it forces restaurants to remove their roadside structures between Nov. 30 and March 31.
The bill, passed by City Council Thursday, calls for the creation of a licensing program by the New York City Department of Transportation, which will require restaurants to pay fees based on square footage and their location.
“If I have to take it down, where am I going to store it?” Charlotta Janssen, the owner of French bistro Chez Oskar in Brooklyn, told The New York Times about the structure set up outside her establishment. “I think they’ve oriented a lot of their rules on the complaints and not on the good outcomes. People love our outdoor dining.”
New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a statement that “outdoor dining is here to stay” and that “I’m proud to lead the administration that will deliver a superior permanent outdoor dining product to New Yorkers and all those visiting the five boroughs.”
“The temporary program saved 100,000 jobs, kept restaurants afloat during the peak of the pandemic, and brought new energy and excitement to our streets and sidewalks,” Adams said. “But it wasn’t perfect — too many sheds were abandoned and left to rot and too few lived up to our vision of what our streets should look like.”
“This bill preserves the best parts of the temporary program and eliminates the worst. We will create a vibrant, clean, and safe streetscape; give restaurants the clarity they need to continue serving their customers; and make New York City the best outdoor dining city in the world,” he added.
The bill was sponsored by New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez and brought forward to the City Council at the request of Adams.
Its language says the licensing program to be established will “prevent undue obstruction of the street, to ensure good order, public safety and the general welfare and to secure the beneficial purpose of opening streets to outdoor dining.”