Op-ed | What outdoor dining means to me, a restaurant worker

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Over my 15-year career in the restaurant industry, I’ve worked alongside many colleagues who want their small businesses to anchor their communities and flourish with their neighborhoods.

As our incoming Mayor and City Council members determine what’s next for our city’s future, I hope they hear and listen to the voices of people like me who believe supporting outdoor dining brings vitality and vibrancy to our city. As should the City Planning Commissioners, who are poised to vote on this critical program soon, and whose decision will have a significant impact on my career and the careers of so many others who depend on the restaurant industry to support themselves and their families.

When the COVID-19 pandemic ripped through New York City, I worried the industry that provided my livelihood would soon vanish, disconnecting me from my city in more ways than I could describe or even recognize, at the time. Our dining rooms were forced to close, so many of us were let go, and our would-be guests were locked in their apartments.

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