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Al Fresco Forever: NYC extends outdoor dining year-round

September 25, 2020 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — Expanded outdoor dining for New York City restaurants will be extended year-round and made permanent, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Friday.

The program allowing restaurants to seat customers on sidewalks and parking spaces has been seen as a lifeline for cash-strapped businesses trying to survive through the pandemic. More than 10,000 restaurants are taking part in the program.

“I want us to really take this model and make it part of the life of New York City for years and generations to come,” de Blasio said on WNYC public radio.

With cooler weather coming, the city will allow electrical heaters on sidewalks and streets as well as propane and natural gas heaters on sidewalks.

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Restaurants also will be able to use partially or fully enclosed tents. Occupancy will be limited to 25% in full tent enclosures, mirroring rules for indoor dining.

“Mayor de Blasio’s decision to safely extend outdoor dining year-round will not only provide a vital lifeline to our struggling restaurants, but will also enhance the vibrancy of our neighborhoods well into the future.” said Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce