NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — There are calls to make New York City’s outdoor dining program a permanent fixture in the five boroughs.
The programs began as a means for restaurants to make some extra money while their dining rooms were closed.
Eateries across the city were permitted to set up some tables on the sidewalk and into the street. Outdoor dining quickly became popular across the city, especially as the weather warmed up.
Now, New Yorkers and restaurant owners are asking the City Council to let outdoor dining stay – and some representatives are on board.
“I think New Yorkers have taken to it and small businesses enjoy making those extra few bucks every night,” said City Councilman Keith Powers.
He wants to extend these regulations past their current expiration date at the end of October.
“We say keep it going into next year and the year beyond that. Let's come up with a plan where we can use our streets to be more innovative and more helpful to small businesses that we love in our neighborhood,” Powers said.
He’s also calling on the state to extend the new rules around alcohol delivery and takeout. Powers says a lot of restaurants are hanging on by a thread and every little bit helps.
“The rent is piling up for a lot of businesses and they're just struggling to pay every day bills let alone pay the monthly rent,” he said.
However, the program does have some draw back amid the coronavirus pandemic and several restaurants have been fined for violating outdoor gathering limits.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo has threatened to terminate the outdoor dining program if enforcement isn’t increased, especially in New York City.