Bill would create permanent NYC al fresco dining option; parking, noise concerns remain

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The Open Restaurants Program created during COVID-19 saved 100,000 jobs in NYC and now elected officials are discussing whether to turn the popular temporary outdoor dining program into a permanent one.

With a mandated shutdown in March of 2020 due to the pandemic, restaurants were hurting and many shuttered. Recognizing the economic turmoil caused by COVID-19, city government launched Open Restaurants in June of that year, which allowed restaurants and bars to expand outdoor seating on sidewalks, curb lanes, backyards, patios and plazas, and established an expedited approval process by allowing restaurants and bars to self-certify their eligibility for curb lane and sidewalk seating. Under the program, more than 12,000 restaurants established outdoor dining on either the sidewalk or roadway throughout the city.

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