New legislation has been introduced to make outdoor dining a year-round thing, Eater reports. This new bill would replace Open Restaurants, which currently allows restaurants to offer outdoor dining until October 31, and is expected to return in June 2021 (if not sooner).
The new bill calls for the legalization of outdoor propane heaters, among other measures. It has been sponsored by several council members including Mark Levine (who also just announced that he is hoping to rename a street near Columbia “RBG Way”).
I’m joining @CMReynoso34 to introduce a new bill to permanently expand outdoor dining in New York City.
Next week, the @NYCCouncil will hold a hearing on the bill.
A toast to New York City. ?
— Keith Powers (@KeithPowersNYC) September 22, 2020
While indoor dining is set to resume on September 30, it’s at a maximum capacity of 25%. So if this new legislation is approved, it will help restaurant owners stay afloat by allowing them to serve more customers at once.
Another step in helping restaurant owners recover was the recently approved 10% surcharge they will be able to add to their customer’s bills. Some believe, however, that this surcharge will discourage New Yorkers from eating out and when they do, from tipping their servers properly.
Some restaurants have gotten creative – like Cafe du Soleil and its space bubbles – but citywide legislation would make it more practical to keep more diners warm through the winter.
The NYC Hospitality Alliance conducted a recent survey which found that almost 90% of NYC restaurant owners were unable to pay their August rent. Hopefully this new legislation is passed and helps many NYC restaurant owners avoid being forced to close their doors.