As New York heads into the winter months, the city is placing more restrictions on outdoor dining and pop-up “streeteries,” which may cause more challenges for struggling restaurants.
The NYC Department of Transportation will now require restaurants to retrofit their curbside outdoor dining with more safety features, including heavy filler material, reflective strips and brightly-colored snow sticks, Eater reported. The new measures must be implemented by Dec. 15.
Outdoor dining setups in roads must be completely filled with sand or soil, and the structure’s plywood barriers are required to include interior walls and a bottom to hold the filler material.
Adding to these regulations, most NYC restaurants will also be required to add plastic and water-filled barriers in front of their roadway barriers. Restaurants that will need to comply will be determined by street crash rates and traffic volume, according to the DOT.
Owners will also have to make these setups more moveable in the event of a snowstorm, according to Eater, and curbside dining areas will need to close during storms.
Restaurateurs and bar owners who spoke to Eater complain that DOT’s regulations are onerous and change too frequently — and may be difficult to implement without knowing whether dining will be permitted at all as Covid cases spike.
“[N]one of us know if the city or state is perhaps going to re-shut down and stop us from doing any outdoor dining in the first place,” a bar owner in South Brooklyn told Eater. “The timing on this is just crazily tone deaf and the rules are unduly strict.”
[Eater] — Keith Larsen