Outdoor dining structures at thousands of restaurants around the five boroughs have become a lifeline for struggling eateries trying to stay afloat during the pandemic.
The city’s Open Restaurant Initiative has kept so many restaurants open — and it’s kept patrons safe from the pandemic.
But some have argued the plan needs more regulations before before the city makes it permanent in 2023.
Some city and community leaders said the Open Restaurant Initiative needs new laws that control outdoor dining.
Opponents gathered Wednesday morning outside of the Department of City Planning. They said they won’t vote on a proposed amendment to make the dining plan permanent until there’s more oversight. Concerns include, noisy, wide open setups soaking up parking spaces.
Some restaurants have closed, but their outdoor structures still stand. Plus, in some cases, they’ve become a shared space not only for diners, but also rats and the homeless.
“This is not a recovery, this is gonzo urban planning. This is move fast and break things,” said Leslie Clark of the West Village Residents Association.
Around 12,000 dining sheds currently line city streets and sidewalks. They’re allowed the stay until the end of 2022.
Patrons PIX11 News spoke to on the Upper West Side would like to see the fixtures in place permanently, but with more regulations.
“It does give a wonderful feel and I think it’s great restaurants can do this and I would miss it, but it’s led the city to even more chaos as far as the streets go,” said Peter Bliss.
Opponents who met Wednesday urge the city to improve enforcement and oversight of the temporary program before making it permanent in 2023.
The NYCDOT manages and oversees operations.