Open Storefronts Program Allows Outdoor Retail, Personal Care Services

  Last modified on May 12th, 2021

New York City’s Open Storefronts program launched on Friday, October 30, and allows existing ground-floor storefront businesses to utilize outdoor sidewalk space to showcase their retail products, offer repair and personal care services, and operate laundry and dry cleaning services. Until the end of the year, this will hopefully allow New York City business owners to increase their bottom lines while still considering safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

In light of the risk of increased business closures and a pandemic resurgence, Mayor Deblasio approved this solution for business owners to weather the challenges they currently face.

With the holidays approaching, businesses will have the option to flexibly sell products and provide services on sidewalks and on streets within the the Open Streets: Restaurants program.

Holiday seasons are critical periods for business owners, with shoppers seeking retailers for gifts or personal care services to prepare for holiday parties. While 2020 may look a little different, businesses still expect to benefit from the Open Storefronts program.

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Only time will determine what kind of impact this will make, and how easily business owners will be able to adapt. The same goes for outdoor dining, which was recently approved as an all-year attraction.

Under the guidelines provided by the Open Storefronts program, businesses will need to make some accommodations for pedestrian traffic. Some of the specific criteria includes allowing a walkway of 8 feet for pedestrian traffic, setting up shop within 5 feet of the property line and ensuring displays and tables are no more than 5 feet in height. Businesses will also be allowed to use pop up tents and weighted umbrellas.

Open Storefronts Requirements

By the end of September, the coronavirus pandemic had impacted New York City businesses heavily. The city had seen nearly 6,000 closures and an increase in bankruptcies of nearly 40%. Businesses will have to adjust their usual operations to move their services or merchandise inside and outside at the end of each business day, and they will need to provide their own tents and umbrellas. NYC’s move to expand businesses outdoors offers hope for increased revenue and survival during the ongoing difficulties for New York City’s business owners.

Learn more about Open Storefronts on the official website here.


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