“Dining Out NYC” Permanently Expands Outdoor Dining to All Five Boroughs, Builds on Temporary Program That Saved 100,000 Jobs During Height of COVID-19 Pandemic
Bill Signing Marks Major Legislative Win for Mayor Adams, Following More Than One Year of Negotiations With City Council
NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams on Wednesday, August 16, signed Intro. 31-C into law and unveiled “Dining Out NYC” — New York’s permanent outdoor dining program and the largest outdoor dining program in the nation. The product of more than a year of negotiations between the Adams administration and the City Council, with extensive input from the restaurant industry and communities across the entire city, the signing of the bill — sponsored by New York City Councilmember Marjorie Velázquez — and creation of this new program represents a major legislative accomplishment for the Adams administration after Mayor Adams championed the bill as a top priority in his “Working People’s Agenda” in January 2023.
“Dining Out NYC” represents one of the most significant efforts of the last decade to reimagine the city’s streetscape to support all New Yorkers and small businesses, while creating vibrant public spaces that improve quality of life and continue to accelerate the city’s economic recovery. The new program draws on lessons learned from the temporary outdoor dining program created during the COVID-19 pandemic that saved 100,000 jobs across the city but led to quality-of-life issues, as a subset of restaurant owners were unable to maintain loosely regulated outdoor dining setups.
“Outdoor dining is here to stay, New York,” said Mayor Adams.“New Yorkers were hungry for a cleaner, safer, healthier outdoor dining program, and we are delivering for them with Dining Out NYC. The temporary open restaurants program saved 100,000 jobs and kept our neighborhoods vibrant — but too many abandoned sheds attracted rats and detracted from the beauty of our city. Dining Out NYC locks in the best parts of outdoor dining and gets rid of the worst — for restaurants, for communities, and for diners alike. We’re going to bring New Yorkers the largest, best outdoor dining program in the country.”
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, outdoor dining was permitted exclusively on the sidewalk almost only within Manhattan. Under “Dining Out NYC,” outdoor dining will be permitted year-round on the sidewalk and from April to November in the roadway. The new law creates an equitable, accessible fee structure for participating restaurants, with rates varying by location and setup size — and with significantly lower fees than existed under the previous sidewalk café program.
Under the creation of this new law, DOT will work with partner agencies to develop proposed rules that will establish design requirements as well as siting, material, and operational guidance. Those rules will enter public review this fall. Under the new program, outdoor dining setups will be open-air and easier to move or break down. Restaurants actively participating in the temporary program can continue operating with existing setups through the remainder of 2023 and throughout their application process, as detailed below.
DOT, in partnership with sister agencies, is developing proposed rules for public review this fall that will establish design requirements for participating restaurants as well as siting, material, and operational requirements. These new rules will address quality-of-life concerns of the temporary program, including sanitation and accessibility. Setups in the permanent program will be open-air and easier to move and break down than those in the temporary program, and the city will no longer allow fully enclosed structures.
Once the new rules are finalized by early 2024, DOT will launch an online application portal where restaurants can begin applying for the permanent program. A restaurant’s outdoor dining setup will need to comply with the permanent program’s design requirements within 30 days of their application approval. This timeline anticipates the first approved Dining Out NYC setups will be on the street in spring 2024.
More information on the permanent program is available online.