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Open Restaurants program will return next summer, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio says

Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday that the open dining program will return to New York City next June. "These restaurants will be back again next year, on the street," he said. De Blasio added, "I wanted to say it now because I want people in communities to look forward and see that we're going to keep coming back strong." Credit: NY Mayor's Office

New York City’s Open Restaurants initiative helped save more than 9,000 restaurants and 80,000 jobs, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday as he announced the outdoor dining program will return next year — even if the coronavirus pandemic is over by then. 

De Blasio said the program, which allows restaurants to take over sidewalks and streets to serve diners, will resume on June 1 but could potentially begin even earlier in the spring of 2021.

“I want the folks who own the restaurants to know that they’re going to have that additional revenue going forward, the folks who work in the restaurants to know that whatever else we have to weather, we have seen this experiment worked,” de Blasio said Monday during his daily news briefing. “So expect to see that wonderful outdoor dining back next year.” 

New York City restaurants, bars and cafes have been hit especially hard by the economic lockdown sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. The businesses were allowed to offer outdoor service in late June when the New York hit Phase 2 of the state’s four-phase coronavirus reopening but de Blasio and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo have continued to bar indoor dining even after the city entered Phase 3 and Phase 4 in July. 

De Blasio extended this year’s outdoor dining program, which was supposed to end on Labor Day, through Oct. 31 and said it could possibly continue even later into the year. 

De Blasio said he was reminded of the vibrancy and importance of New York restaurants while strolling around his old Brooklyn neighborhood with his wife, Chirlane McCray. 

“Chirlane and I walked around Fifth Avenue in Park Slope,” de Blasio said. “It was absolutely amazing. Just restaurant after restaurant filled with people but the right way, outdoors with the right distancing, Folks were doing a good job of obeying the rules but also having a great, great time. It was so good to see the life and energy, it just felt like a beautiful New York City summer moment.  But it was also a reminder that a lot of restaurants were able to survive because of this initiative and a lot of people have been able to get their jobs back.” 

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