Here is the latest:
New York’s outdoor dining program, which has become part of the pandemic, will be allowed to return next summer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the news at a press conference on Monday, calling the alfresco dining “an extraordinary success.”
Outdoor meals are expected to last at least October 31. The mayor has marked a return date of June 1, 2021, although he said the city may decide to start earlier in the spring.
Over 9,000 restaurants have signed up for alfresco dining, allowing owners to set up tables on sidewalks and alleys. De Blasio said the city estimates the program has saved nearly 80,000 jobs in New York City since June.
According to an analysis by Scott Stringer, the city comptroller, the East Village had the highest application rate.
But the situation for the restaurant industry, which along with hospitality has been hit hardest by the closures, remains dire. According to Stringer’s report, in May, 41,000 people were employed in full-service restaurants, down 70% from March.
Many popular and long-standing restaurants have already closed for good, and some restaurateurs who have temporarily closed have openly questioned whether they would have the money or the willingness to organize a return.
On Monday, the Hospitality Alliance released the results of a survey of 500 restaurants, bars and nightlife that found 83% of businesses could not pay full rent in July and 37% said they paid no rent. . To make matters worse, the survey also found that the majority of landlords – 61% – have refused to defer rent payments, while 90% will not renegotiate leases.
While most elected officials applauded the mayor’s decision, some are urging the city to go even further with al fresco dining, a staple in European cities. Manhattan City Council member Keith Powers had proposed a bill calling on the city to make the Open Restaurants program permanent and long-term.
“Sure, there are a lot of good months in April and May that can be used for alfresco dining, but I’ll accept a win here,” Powers tweeted Monday.
Washington Post columnist and CNN contributor Max Boot went even further, suggesting the program be allowed year round.
“People eat out at ski resorts in the winter. Why not in New York? Just install heat lamps. Otherwise, I’m afraid more restaurants will close their doors, ”he tweeted.
It’s a great program, but why stop on October 31, @NYCMayor and @NYGovCuomo? People eat outside at ski resorts in winter. Why not in New York? Just install heat lamps. Otherwise, I’m afraid other restaurants will close their doors. https://t.co/BEP4ATE8Gi
– Max Boot (@MaxBoot) 3 août 2020
As some restaurateurs have pointed out, al fresco dining is not a perfect solution. Setting up the right setup takes time and investment and depends on good weather.
Gothamist reported that some workers struggled with the new working conditions, which include public health precautions like masks and disinfection. The Wall Street Journal recently reported Monday that at least eight people were injured by drivers crashing into street restaurants in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan.
“It’s super hot,” Alexey, who works at an Italian restaurant in Morningside Heights, Gothamist, said last month. “You are dripping with sweat. Your face is melting because you’re wearing a mask, and you can’t put on those fucking gloves because your hands are wet and sweaty too. It takes a long time to maintain these necessary measures, and we must also continue and continue to serve people. It’s very frustrating – it’s a no-joke experience. ”
He added, “And by the time the rain starts, there’s no work, period. “