HOBOKEN, N.J. (WCBS 880) — The New Jersey city of Hoboken is looking to help restaurants keep customers coming back for outdoor dining, even with chilly weather on the way.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla on Wednesday announced the city will allow restaurants to continue outdoor dining through the winter months, so long as they provide certain heating and other accommodations.
“We have specifically integrated the usage of heat lamps to address that concern,” explains the mayor.
Though restaurants in New Jersey are allowed to seat people indoor at 25% capacity, business owners say that won’t be enough – and they’ll be able to further expand seating with outdoor dining continuing into the winter.
“What we want to do is make sure we give both our residents and small businesses a chance,” Bhalla said.
Propane or electric heaters would be permitted with proper approval, Mayor Bhalla said.
“We are doing everything we can to work with our businesses to keep as many people outdoors in a safe, comfortable and socially distant environment,” the city said in a statement.
Andrew Rigie, who heads the New York City Hospitality Alliance, says he wants the five boroughs to adopt a similar outdoor dining policy.
“We need the city to approve all different types of heating units outdoors for restaurants to use,” he said. “These lamps are gonna be critically important because, as it gets colder, people are not gonna want to sit outside unless they can stay warm.”
Rigie says the continuation of outdoor dining is crucial for the survival for restaurants.