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HARLEM, Manhattan (PIX11) — Cases and spread might be going down across the state, but restaurants in the city are still struggling to make it through the pandemic.

Some owners from eateries in East Harlem organized a petition to ask the state to fund a program that’s supported local businesses and fed hungry people. 

Lou Martins is the owner of Bistro Casa Azul on Pleasant Avenue at East 118th Street. 

“It’s a great idea,” he said. “We hope the governor and state senate and assembly will fund it going forward.”

The “Restaurant Resiliency Program” distributed $25 million through to participating locations. They also made the meals, which were distributed to local community groups that feed the hungry. 

State lawmakers are working on a budget now. 

Meanwhile, in New York City, plans are moving ahead to make outdoor dining permanent. The allowance of outdoor dining structures was a lifeblood to restaurants during COVID-19 shutdowns.

This week, city council approved a zoning change that allows sidewalk and curbside dining around the city. 

The vote was 43 to 6, with one abstention. 

NYC Councilmember Bob Holden, who represents Queens, voted against the zoning amendment. 

“I’ll only vote for a bill that allows areas to opt out,” he said. 

Additional designs and regulations will be discussed and voted on at a later date. For example, the administration of the department of transportation has drafted initial plans that would prohibit enclosed dining sheds.