Due to the success of the Open Restaurants program, officials are asking that it be continued beyond its expected end date in October.
State Senator Andrew Gounardes and Assemblymember Mathylde Frontus believe the popularity of Open Restaurants, the unclear timeline of the pandemic and the significant costs restaurant owners have incurred to participate make the program more important than ever.
“This has been one bright spot of normalcy for New Yorkers in a dark time,” said Gounardes, “and so long as we can ensure the program’s safety, it’s time to keep the open seating for good.”
“Local restaurants define the character and sustain the economy of our communities,” said Frontus. “Making the Open Restaurants program permanent would help small businesses through this crisis and make our communities more vibrant.”
The city has added new guidelines during the program, forcing restaurants to spend thousands of dollars to further renovate outdoor seating.
“Restaurants are vital to the city’s economy, providing hundreds of thousands of jobs and billions in sales and revenue,” said Jumana Bishara, co-owner of Tanoreen at 7523 Third Ave. “Our elected officials must do everything in their power to #saverestaurants.”
“Our restaurants are a large part of the fabric that makes Brooklyn neighborhoods special,” said Randy Peers, president and CEO of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce. “Since the shutdown, they have been on life support. Year-round outdoor dining, combined with a continuing emphasis on takeout and delivery and ‘to go’ privileges for alcoholic beverages, are the best plan for longer-term sustainability.”