Restaurant owners, who have seen their business plummet, have been particularly worried that regulations requiring them to limit capacity and space their tables would make it hard for them to make ends meet. Many restaurants and bars in New York City, especially in Manhattan, do not have available outdoor space, and they have pressed lawmakers to expand their ability to serve customers outdoors as the city reopened.
The mayor said Thursday that restaurants in the city would be able to place seating on curbs and sidewalks adjacent to their restaurants, even if they had never had seating before. He also announced that beginning in July, the city would allow restaurant seating on 43 miles of streets that it had closed to vehicle traffic in an effort to provide more outdoor space to residents and prevent crowding at city parks. The mayor predicted that the expanded outdoor dining plan would save 5,000 of the city’s restaurants and 45,000 jobs.
“Outdoor dining is the way forward,” he said.
Restaurants and bars in the city have been open for takeout since the state’s shutdown orders were enacted in March. As the city began reopening earlier this month, a kind of informal outdoor dining took place, with large groups eating and drinking on streets outside businesses.
The mayor said that the city’s playgrounds, which have been shut since March, would also reopen on Monday. But team sports, like basketball, soccer and softball, will not be permitted in city parks.
On Thursday, the mayor again repeated concerns that the virus might have spread as massive protests over systemic racism and police brutality recently filled city streets. (Mr. de Blasio, who attended at least one such demonstration, fell ill on Monday, but tested negative for the virus, he said.)
Still, Mr. de Blasio said that city and state officials had been encouraged by “the trendline” of test results and hospitalizations, which have stayed flat in recent weeks, and decided to allow the reopening to go forward.
New surges of the virus in states like Florida, Arizona and Texas, which reopened more, quickly suggest the perils of letting down the collective guard.
Source : Nytimes