The city is set to enter Phase Three reopening on Monday, and while indoor dining won't be part of it, 22 locations around the city are expanding outdoor dining into the street.
What You Need To Know:
- The new initiative combines NYC’s Open Streets and Open Restaurants Programs.
- 22 corridors citywide granted permission to extend table dining outdoors into the street.
- No cars allowed from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Fridays, and noon to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and Sundays.
- By July 17, the city is expected to announce an additional 10 to 20 corridors that will be able to offer expanded outdoor dining with no cars around.
In Little Italy, parts of Mulberry Street will be closed to vehicular traffic this weekend, so that restaurants that have been hurting badly due to the coronavirus pandemic can try to make up for lost revenue by placing additional tables beyond the curb and into the street.
This comes after indoor dining was postponed indefinitely earlier this week due to concerns about the coronavirus.
Desiree Sanderson from North Jersey says the new setup allowed her support her favorite restaurant in Little Italy in a safe and socially distant peaceful atmosphere.
“Because the roads being closed, I can bring my kids down and they’re safe and enjoy the food we’ve been waiting for, for months,” said Sanderson.
This new initiative is a combination of two programs that the city has been particularly proud of: Open Streets and Open Restaurants.
The selected corridors will be in operation on Fridays from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., and on Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 11 p.m.
Vivian Catennaccio, the Vice President of the Little Italy Merchants Association, is hopeful that the car-free atmosphere and the availability of more outdoor seating will help many restaurants that have been hurting since the lockdown began in mid-March.
“We want them to survive and the issue that most are having is the rent,” Catennaccio said. “We were forced to close in March and now we all owe going on five months’ rent. And that’s one of the big problems.”
Rachid Belachgar, the general manager of La Bella Vita believes the new setup of expanded dining with no vehicular traffic is a win-win for businesses and for customers.
“This is a perfect worst case scenario, you need a fire truck, police to go through, you remove the barricade,” Belachgar said. “This is perfect right now.”
By July 17, the city is expected to announce an additional 10 to 20 corridors that will be able to offer expanded outdoor dining with no cars around.