Monday, June 22, 2020

Now entering Phase II

[East 14th Street]

The city officially enters Phase 2 today, which allows for the reopening of outdoor dining at bars and restaurants, in-person retail, hair salons and barber shops (though excluding personal care services like nail salons and spas) ... and more office jobs, with less capacity and mandatory COVID-19 safeguards in place like social distancing and facial coverings.

Of particular interest is how, exactly, the outdoor dining portion will work. Mayor de Blasio unveiled the plans back on Thursday. Here are excerpts from the city's press release:

The City’s Open Restaurants program ... allows qualifying restaurants and bars to expand outdoor seating on sidewalks, curb lanes, backyards, patios, plazas, and Open Streets as New York City begins Phase 2 of reopening. The City has established an expedited approval processes by allowing restaurants and bars to self-certify their eligibility for curb lane and sidewalk seating using a new, streamlined application process at NYC.Gov...

Open Restaurants gives dining establishments five new options. Beginning in Phase 2, restaurants can implement seating in curb lanes and sidewalks. Phase 2 allows reopening and use of as of right outdoor space in backyard and patios. Restaurants can also work with their local Business Improvement Districts (BIDs) to establish seating in plazas. Beginning in July, restaurants can offer seating on Open Streets on nights and weekends.

Sidewalk seating will be in effect until the end of October. Curb lane seating will last through Labor Day. DOT will work with community groups and partner agencies to identify additional seating within full streets closures in July. Restaurants can work with their local BID and DOT to request additional seating in plazas by emailing

Customers are not permitted to gather outside of establishments. Businesses that repeatedly fail to comply will have their Open Restaurant authorization revoked by DOT, and will be referred to the SLA.

This link has more details on how the Open Restaurants scenario will work.

I haven't heard yet of any plans to close East Village streets for outdoor dining. (If you have, then please let me know!) Closing off Avenue B as part of Open Streets hasn't exactly been a success.


dwg said...

Business/profit over quality of life. I want businesses to make it back, but right now the city's overwhelming focus seems to be on bar/restaurants as if the future is solely depended on their survival. My fear is the opening up of "backyards and sidewalks" will lead to unbridled noise and lock in the use of those spaces with little to no recourse for residents who will have to suffer the noise on a nightly basis. Bars and restaurants do a poor job of controlling noise in these areas as it is. Where's the focus on the thousands of other small businesses that don't rely on the sales of liquor for profit?

Anonymous said...

First the banksters expropriate my apartment so I work from home, now they are expropriating our sidewalks and parking spaces so the landlords can continue to service their bankster debt.

Anonymous said...

our backyards are constantly full of shouting drunk kidults. I don't get it. We would never have thought to scream all night next to people's bedrooms when we were young. but back then the insurance companies hadn't closed off the roofs and people would drop bricks on you.

Anonymous said...

How do you know that the bars/restaurants have done the self-certification for their outdoor dining?
Anyone can put out tables but there are supposed to be restrictions of space, etc.
Do they have to post something in the windows?

Jill W said...

All of life is going to be outside this summer. I suggest an attitude adjustment, though I'll admit I've enjoyed some quiet nights and excellent sleep during the pandemic. At least people aren't dying in droves now and we aren't hearing ambulances. Also I believe the trend is earlier drinking and earlier going to bed. I'm sure there's exceptions but that was happening pre-pandemic and that's what I'm seeing now as well.

Anonymous said...

Understanding the situation is complicated but important to note that street closing/reduced lanes to enable restaurant dining will be a major problem for delivery workers and drivers - mostly POC getting paid very little.

NYC should be reducing taxes for small, independent stores and restaurants. And institute commercial rent protection.