Phase 2 Reopening – Open Restaurants Initiative


June 18, 2020

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced guidance for the City’s Open Restaurants program this morning. Qualifying restaurants and bars will be allowed to expand outdoor seating on sidewalks, curb lanes, backyards, patios, plazas, and (eventually) Open Streets as New York City begins Phase 2 of reopening. The City has established an expedited approval processes by allowing restaurants and bars to self-certify their eligibility for curb lane and sidewalk seating using a new, streamlined application process, which is available here.

NYC’s Open Restaurant Program is an effort to implement a citywide multi-phase program to expand outdoor seating options for restaurants and bars to promote open space, enhance social distancing, and help them rebound in these difficult economic times.

This program is designed to assist existing restaurants and bars that have been authorized by the Governor of the State of New York to re-open under Phase Two and want to use outdoor areas on a temporary basis.

While the program provides an opportunity for many restaurants and bars to take advantage of outdoor space, there are requirements and standards that must be met by participants, including the following:

Sidewalk Seating

  • Sidewalk seating area may not exceed business frontage
  • Sidewalk seating must be adjacent to the building and maintain an 8 foot clear path free from certain obstructions between the seating and the curb and a 3 foot clear path on either side
  • Sidewalk seating must not be in a bus stop
  • Sidewalk seating area must not block doorways, standpipes, or Siamese connections
  • Tables and chairs must be provided by applicant

Roadway Seating

  • Roadway seating must be 8 feet wide and may not exceed length of business frontage
  • Roadway seating cannot be installed within a bus stop
  • Roadway seating must be sited at least 15 feet from a hydrant and 8 feet from a crosswalk
  • Roadway seating cannot be set up where curb regulation is No Standing Anytime or No Stopping Anytime
  • Roadway seating may be set up in part time No Standing or No Stopping provided all elements are removed when No Standing or No Stopping is in effect
  • Seating must be separated from the travel lane with a barrier
    • If located on a street with more than two travel lanes, barrier must be min 18-24 inches wide, such as planters, spaced maximum 4 feet apart
    • If located on a street with two travel lanes or less, barrier may be vertical element such as stanchions, barricades, or planters, spaced at maximum 5 feet apart
    • Barriers should not be higher than 36 inches tall, excluding plantings
  • Tables, chairs, and barriers must be provided by applicant

Additional Resources

The seating criteria, other city resources, and additional information is  available on the Open Restaurant website for more information:

Open Restaurants Initiative

NYC Restaurant Reopening Guide

Small Business Services Hotline: 888-SBS-4NYC

Please email us if you are interested in collaborating with us on this opportunity, or would like assistance in interpreting the City’s criteria for your business.

Online application is available now. Access it here.
Hudson Square

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