Operating a Restaurant in NYC


Businesses in the food service industry face many challenges in the ever-evolving market.

August 3, 2021

Over 5 million New Yorkers have received at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine, but due to the rising Delta variants, on August 3 the Mayor announced a new policy affecting indoor dining, gyms, entertainment, and performances.

Beginning August 16, workers and customers in the above industries will be required to show proof of vaccination in the form of a paper vaccination card, the Excelsior pass, or the NYC Covid Safe App.  In the next few weeks the Key to NYC Pass, a first-in-the-nation approach will be phased in over the coming weeks.

Announcement at-a-glance:

  • Industries affected; indoor dining, gyms, entertainment, and performances
  • Program begins August 16
  • Inspection and enforcement begins week of September 13

Helpful links:

SLA Guidance – July 7, 2021
NYS has extended permission to serve alcohol under the Open Restaurant program provided the following notification on or before October 5, 2021:

Restaurants in the Open Restaurants program prior to July 7, 2021

  • Send an email to municipalexpansion@sla.ny.gov with your main license serial number in the subject line
  • Attach a copy of the permit/authorization from New York DOT providing permission to use the municipal property
  • Attach a block plot diagram of your restaurant’s use of City property

Restaurants that joined the Open Restaurant program on or after July 7, 2021:

  • Follow the SLA’s instructions for “New Applicants for Municipal Property
  • Provide notice to the applicable community board
  • Thirty (30) days after providing the notice, a new applicant musts send proof of receipt of the notice along with a copy of the authorization from NYC DOT and a diagram of your restaurant’s use of City property



On Wednesday, May 19, NYS released new rules to implement recent CDC guidance that fully-vaccinated people no longer need to wear face coverings or be separated by 6 feet. To help navigate these new rules, the state has issued several guides to serve as a resource:

Below are resources to help restaurants navigate the City and State requirements:

The following are some key dates as issued by New York City and State:

April 30, 2021 – food sales are no longer required with the purchase of alcoholic beverages at restaurants and bars
May 3, 2021 – Patron seating allowed at bar areas
May 3, 2021 – Catered events can resume at private residences in accordance with NYS DOH guidance
May 7, 2021 – NYC indoor dining can increase to 75% capacity
May 17, 2021 – 1am curfew on catered events lifted where attendees have proof of negative Covid-19 test (May 31st curfew lifted for all events that qualify under NYS DOH Guidance)
May 17, 2021 – Midnight curfew on outdoor dining lifted – curfew for roadway seating will remain IN EFFECT until further notice
May 19, 2021 – Capacity limits for large arts and sports venues will increase to 25%
May 31, 2021- Midnight curfew on indoor dining will be lifted


NYC Open restaurants program

This permanent program enables restaurants to expand their outdoor seating “foot print” to sidewalks and adjacent parking spots.
Learn more about the program, if you are eligible and how to apply.

Hudson Square

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