Outdoor dining, which has provided a lifeline for many restaurant owners, may continue through the winter.
City and state officials are in discussions to extend the Open Restaurants program, which currently expires Oct. 31, according to the Wall Street Journal.
Some restaurants feel the continued ability to serve sit-down patrons despite colder weather will allow a much-needed income stream to continue, especially as there’s been no movement on when indoor dining could resume. Others say the requirements to provide heaters will eat up any additional revenue.
“I’m just trying to stay ahead of the grim reaper,” Ron Silver, owner of Bubby’s in Tribeca, told the Journal.
The coronavirus-induced shutdowns have been a death knell for many restaurants, particularly those with expensive leases. Last month, 83 percent of restaurants failed to pay full rent, while 37 percent paid no rent at all, according to a survey of 471 establishments by the New York City Hospitality Alliance.
A spokesperson for mayor Bill de Blasio said the conversation about prolonging outdoor dining and reopening indoor dining are “on separate tracks.”