NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces that the ‘Open Restaurants’ initiative will return in 2021
Today, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio made the announcement that the “popular” Open Restaurants program would return on June 1, 2021 and run through the end of October.
According to City Hall, the program which began in June 2020 has been a success with over 9,000 participating restaurants and has saved about 80,000 jobs.
Open restaurants has been run in conjunction with Open Streets initiative allowing New Yorkers to better enjoy the outdoors of the Big Apple whilst staying safe during the city’s recovery from the COVID-19 Crisis.
However, the program hasn’t been without its problems. Alcohol serving establishments have had their share of controversy with patrons congregating en masse whilst shunning social distancing regulations, drinking from open containers of alcohol and not wearing facial coverings as required.
For anyone unfamiliar, possession of open containers of alcohol is prohibited in all of New York state.
Such issues have gone to such an extent as to raise Governor Cuomo’s ire. His continued complaints and participation by a task force he created has resulted in dozens of bars having lost their liquor licenses. Multitudes of violations have been issued by this task force comprised of the State Liquor Authority Inspectors and New York State Police.
Despite such concerns, the Mayor, members of the City Council as well as other local leaders feel very confident and proud that the program has been as big a success as they say it’s been.
“In just two months, Open Restaurants has helped re-imagine our public spaces — bringing New Yorkers together to safely enjoy outdoor dining and helping to rescue a critical industry at the same time,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “We are thrilled that the Mayor has announced that this hugely successful team effort will return next year. We look forward to further collaboration with our partner agencies, community groups and restaurateurs who have already worked so hard to put this vision into place.”
“It’s time to start a new New York City tradition,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “New Yorkers deserve the chance to enjoy their meals outside next summer, and restaurants deserve the chance to continue building their businesses back. I’m proud to expand such a popular program, and I look forward to participating myself next year.”
“As the author of the outdoor dining bill, I have always believed that this program should become a permanent part of our City’s streetscape” said Council Member Antonio Reynoso. “Outdoor dining provides a financial lifeline to our struggling restaurant industry, while reimagining our streets to create more space for people to enjoy the outdoors. I’m excited the administration is extending the program and I look forward to exploring further opportunities to make our streets work better for all users.”
“The Open Restaurants program has been incredibly successful in the midst of a crisis. Continuing this outdoor dining program in 2021 is not only important for small businesses, jobs and tax revenue, but it also makes NYC a more beautiful and livable city,” said Andrew Rigie, Executive Director, and Robert Bookman, Counsel of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
The hours of operation for Open Restaurants are Monday to Saturday, 8:00 AM – 11:00 PM, and Sunday 10:00 AM – 11:00 PM. A searchable citywide map of existing Open Restaurants can be found here. For more information on the program, including regulations, guidelines, and the application, click here.