NYC businesses can expand to sidewalks in new Open Storefronts initiative

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NEW YORK CITY — Businesses in New York City can expand to sidewalks as part of a new initiative aimed at spurring the economy while ensuring safety amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Open Storefronts program, announced Wednesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, will begin Friday and run through Dec. 31.

“Everyone knows this is such a crucial time of the year for every small business. We want them to be able to maximize it,” de Blasio said, noting the holiday shopping season is just a few weeks away.

Ground-floor storefront business owners can review eligibility and apply for the program online at nyc.gov/OpenStorefronts.

The program is expected to reach over 40,000 small businesses citywide, according to the mayor.

“It will allow them to sell their wares outdoors, right in front of their businesses; to have a lot more people able to come and buy; to be able to expand their staff, the number of people they employ,” de Blasio said.

Businesses focused on retail, repair, personal care services, and dry-cleaning and laundry services will be able to use outdoor space for seating, queuing, or displaying dry goods. For a list of eligible retail activities, click here.

Businesses located on existing Open Streets, a program that shuts down vehicle traffic on select roads to create more space for outdoor dining, can use the curb lane directly in front of the store.

Business owners on the same block can also join together and apply to become an Open Street, de Blasio said.

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