“At the height of the pandemic, our temporary outdoor dining program served millions of New Yorkers and saved 100,000 jobs. It allowed cooks, waiters, busboys and all those who depend on the restaurant industry to get back to work — and New Yorkers to get back to socializing safely after being cooped up indoors.” - Mayor Eric Adams
In August 2023, Mayor Adams signed legislation that will create the largest — and best — permanent outdoor dining program in the United States.
The permanent program — Dining Out NYC — builds upon lessons learned during the temporary Open Restaurants program and will make outdoor dining more accessible, safe, and inviting.
When the pandemic was at its peak, the temporary Open Restaurants program expanded outdoor dining opportunities. This invigorated our city’s sidewalks and neighborhoods, giving New Yorkers a safe space to socialize. It allowed small businesses to remain open during challenging times. It also helped us reimagine our public spaces.
The new program will:
- Provide clear design guidelines
- Expand sidewalk dining to all boroughs — year-round
- Allow roadway dining for eight months a year
- Be managed by the New York City Department of Transportation (NYC DOT)
Inspections and Enforcement
Our City values outdoor dining, and we also take enforcement seriously. Under the permanent program, NYC DOT teams will continue to conduct both proactive and complaint-driven inspections and respond to complaints. However, NYC DOT's first goal is to work with restaurants to bring them into compliance and NYC DOT will work with restaurants to improve their setups whenever possible. To that end, the legislation provides for a process where first time violators will have 30 days to correct a noncompliance before NYC DOT would issue a violation.