Mayor Bill DeBlasio in his announcement on Wednesday directed forty streets across Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens to be closed to traffic on weekdays. This closure is put in place to help facilitate outdoor dining, whilst maintaining social distancing norms.
Dubbed the “open streets” program, restaurants can set tables and chairs on the roadways, in order to increase their outdoor dining capacity, especially since indoor dining hasn’t been considered the safest option as of now. Earlier, this program was limited to the weekends, but as the announcement follows, this practice will also be followed by eateries on the weekdays henceforth. The program encompasses nearly 90 corridors.
As reported by NY Post, some of the major closed corridors include Hoyt Street from Atlantic Avenue to State Street in Manhattan Friday through Sunday, W. 46th Street between Sixth and Ninth avenues every day, 70th Road between Austin Street and Queens Boulevard in Queens every day, and Arthur Avenue between E. 118th Street and Crescent Avenue in The Bronx, Thursday through Sunday.
In his statement on Wednesday, de Blasio said, “Restaurants deserve every chance they can get to serve more customers this fall – and, as the weather gets cooler, New Yorkers deserve every chance they can get to enjoy outdoor dining.”
After being grilled over not allowing indoor eateries to start operating, the Mayor finally announced last week, that the Big Apple eateries can start to welcome diners indoors at 25 percent of their capacity from Sept. 30.
Following the Wednesday announcement, traffic will be barred along the 40 roads, starting Sept. 17 at varying hours depending on the location. A full list of closures and an application form for restaurants to ask for these closures are on the city’s Dept. of Transportation website.
Happy with the decision, especially since restauranteurs have been facing gargantuan losses since the beginning of the pandemic, restaurants that support outdoor dining feel as if they are in the clear now, and might just be able to cover their losses. This being said, lesser than half of the city’s 25,000 restaurants offer outdoor dining and that is still a major cause for concern, at least until indoor dining goes on floors from the end of this month.