NEW YORK - Outdoor dining in New York City is scheduled to end on October 30, but some officials are now calling for it to be extended indefinitely.
With the coronavirus pandemic far from over and some restauranteurs saying the city's new indoor dining rules will not allow them to make enough money to pay the bills, making outdoor dining year-round could be a desperately-needed lifeline.
The idea has come in for criticism from drivers that lament the loss of free parking spaces due to outdoor dining.
"This is a tiny percentage of parking spaces citywide. It's less than 1 percent of the city's parking spaces," said City Council Member Mark Levine, who is pushing to extend outdoor dining, "In exchange, we get a desperately needed economic boost from these restaurants that are struggling. And we get vitality on the streets."
Initially, the city was concerned about how New Yorkers would receive outdoor dining, thus the October 30th end date. Now that New Yorkers have come to embrace it, city officials are moving to extend it. The extension would require changes to regulations which include the use of propane heaters.
"That would be really helpful," said Max Stocci, owner of Mediterraneo on the Upper East Side, "A lot of customers have been asking the same question 'are you going to use heaters?'"