NYC’s Temporary Open Restaurants Program

Temporary Open Restaurants Program Update

At this time we are no longer accepting new applications under the temporary program.

NYC's New Permanent Outdoor Dining Program – Dining Out NYC

Visit nyc.gov/diningout to learn more about NYC’s new outdoor dining program – the largest in the nation!

: People sit in an outdoor dining area set up in a roadway along the curb surrounded by a low barrier filled with plants. Large red umbrellas are positioned over two of the tables.
Aleli's roadway dining setup in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

Temporary Open Restaurant Program Outdoor Dining Area Siting Requirements

DRAFT diagram to show outdoor dining specifications for sidewalk seating and curbside seating at an Open Restaurant

Please review the requirements to determine if your location qualifies to have an Open Restaurant sidewalk and/or roadway seating area.

Restaurants that applied to the temporary program acknowledged that they understood and agreed to all applicable terms and conditions and all applicable laws and guidance. If an establishment is not compliant, the City may revoke or suspend its authorization at any time during the program period and may remove any roadway or sidewalk dining setup.

Restaurants must:

  • Setups or additions of any kind may not be bolted down or drilled into the roadway, sidewalk, or building façade
  • Setups may not be taller than your storefront or one story, whichever is shorter
  • Multiple level setups are not permitted on the sidewalk or roadway
  • Setups, tents or umbrellas may not block any street regulation signs, fire escapes, Siamese pipes, or water sampling stations
  • No sign, either illuminated or non-illuminated, announcement or advertising devices of any nature, shall be placed or painted on or affixed to in any manner on any setup, awning, screen or other appurtenances used in connection with the outdoor dining area; except the name of the establishment shall be permitted
  • The establishment cannot remove any City property already installed on the sidewalk and/or roadway in front of their establishment; such removal by the establishment may result in a penalty
  • No setups on the sidewalk can be located adjacent to the curb, in the 'amenity (furnishing) zone’; for roadway setups, you can only build up to or on the curb
  • Electric radiant heaters are allowed on both sidewalk and roadway
  • Natural gas radiant heaters are allowed on the sidewalk only
  • Propane heaters are no longer allowed

Learn more about approved heating elements in the Heating FAQ

  • Amplified sound is not allowed in either sidewalk or roadway dining setups
    • This includes audio speakers, TVs, and live music.
  • An 8' clear path for pedestrians must be provided
  • For clear path purposes, parking meters, traffic signs and tree pits with flush gratings (without tree guards) are exempt. All other above-grade structures are considered obstructions
  • All items for outdoor dining (i.e., tables, chairs, heaters) must be up against the wall of the business or as close as possible
  • Sidewalk seating area may not exceed business frontage
  • Must be at least 3' from the adjacent business to avoid overlap and conflict between adjacent seating setups
  • Must not cover, shade, come in contact with, or be placed within 1’ of the trunk or branches of a City tree
  • Must not be placed within or over City tree beds without a permit from NYC Parks
  • Must not cause rainwater runoff to discharge directly into a tree bed
  • Heaters must be placed at least 5’ from trunk or branches of City trees
  • Cannot block subway grate, utility hardware or Siamese water connection
  • Cannot block bus stop waiting area
  • Sidewalk seating elements must be removed when a city agency, utility company or other contractor needs to access the space for installation or repair. Failure to remove may result in removal by the City as well as a penalty
  • Platforms may not be installed on sidewalks
  • Barriers must be on all three sides of the seating perimeter that are in the roadway, to separate seating from the travel lane
  • Barriers must be at least 18” in width and 30-36” in height (excluding plantings) to preserve visibility for motorists and provide protection for patrons (see Siting Criteria diagram)
  • All barriers must be completely filled with water, sand or soil. Water filled barriers are strongly recommended
  • Barriers must have a solid exterior wall and bottom to hold filler material
  • A plastic water-filled barrier in front of the roadway barrier facing oncoming traffic on busy roadways is highly recommended for all roadway setups
  • Continuous reflector tape must be added along the top outside edges, and snow sticks must be added to the corners of the two barriers facing traffic
  • Barriers must be no more than 8’ from the curb
  • A ramp for ADA compliance, whether mobile or permanently affixed, must be provided for setups with accessibility challenges
  • Seating and barriers may not be within 15’ of a fire hydrant
  • Seating and barriers may not be within 8’ of a marked or unmarked crosswalk
  • Roadway setups may only be built up to or on the curb; no setups can be located in the ‘amenity zone’
  • Any lighting must be of a reasonable brightness and cannot be blinding to passing traffic
  • Roadway seating must not be within a No Stopping Anytime or No Standing Anytime zone, bike lane, bus lane/stop, taxi stand, or Carshare space
    [Exception: For part-time No Stopping or No Standing zones, seating may be placed when those rules are not in effect. Barriers and seating must be removed from the roadway when No Stopping or No Standing is in effect]
  • Establishments may only use umbrellas with a weighted base or tents or other shelters, not to exceed 400 square feet in total
  • Umbrellas and tents may not extend past the barrier, obstruct access to or ventilation of utility covers, or obstruct clear paths
  • Refer to NYC DOB’s 2021-005 Bulletin for information about when permits are required (issued May 28, 2021)
  • Umbrellas and tents must not be used during inclement weather such as high wind condition and heavy snow events
  • Enclosed setups, such as plastic domes, will be allowed and are subject to the same standards as umbrellas and tents
  • Outdoor dining setups may not cover, shade, come in contact with, or be placed within 1’ of the trunk or branches of a City tree
  • Outdoor dining setups may not be placed within or over City tree beds without a permit from NYC Parks
  • Outdoor dining setups must not cause rainwater runoff to discharge directly into a tree bed; runoff from cleaning may not be discharged or allowed to flow into a tree bed
  • The City will allow restaurants to incorporate heating elements into their outdoor dining setups, learn more about approved heating elements in the Heating FAQ
  • Only electrical heaters are allowed within roadway setups
  • Heating elements shall be placed at least 5’ from trunk or branches of City trees
  • Setups may not be taller than your storefront or one story, whichever is shorter
  • Multiple level setups are not permitted on the sidewalk or roadway
DSNY Guidance for Open Restaurants during Winter Weather and Snow Alerts
  • During an active snow alert when roadway dining is suspended:
    • Open Restaurants will be notified by email when roadway dining is suspended
    • Diners may not sit in roadway setups. Please remove or secure any tables and chairs
    • All electrical heaters in roadway set ups must be removed
    • If possible, restaurants should remove any overhead coverings. At minimum, please regularly remove the snow from overhead coverings until the snow alert ends
    • When high winds are expected, restaurants should take all precautionary measures to anchor objects in the outdoor seating area such as umbrellas, tents, tables and chairs, or bring them inside
  • If 12” or more of snow is forecast, restaurants must also:
    • Remove or consolidate your roadway setups to have as small a footprint as possible along the curb
    • If you’re unable to remove or consolidate your roadway setup, you are encouraged to take steps to protect your asset from damage due to snow removal operations
  • You may sign up to receive snow alerts and all snow-related updates through Notify NYC. To sign up for Notify NYC, call 311, visit www.nyc.gov/notifynyc, or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter
  • Leave barriers in place within a metered zone, alternate side parking, or No Parking Anytime zone, provided that that tables and chairs are removed or secured when not in operation
  • Where seating is authorized along a curb, install a platform behind the required barrier to flush height with curb to facilitate ADA compliance, prevent the curb from becoming a tripping hazard, and allow drainage to underpass seating
    • Such platforms shall not block rainwater drainage getting to the curb or flowing along the curb
    • Such platforms shall not obstruct access to or ventilation of utility covers.

The following are prohibited without a permit from NYC Parks:

  • Tree removal
  • Tree pruning
  • Attaching lights or other materials to trees
  • Constructing any structure within or over a tree bed

To apply for a Tree Work Permit, please visit:nycgovparks.org/services/forestry/tree-work-permit

NYC Parks Tree work:

  • In the event of emergency or routine tree work, sidewalk and/or roadway seating elements and closures must be removed for access as requested by NYC Parks
  • Parks will provide at least 48 hours’ notice whenever possible, however for emergency tree work, little advance notice may be provided

Open Restaurants Map & Dashboard

Find an Open Restaurant near you! Search the NYC Open Restaurants map and dashboard at nycopenrestaurants.info.

Inspections & Enforcement

NYC DOT may immediately revise, terminate, or suspend, for a period of time and without prior notice, the outdoor dining authorization based on valid complaints, lack of ADA access, need for repairs, lack of compliance with Open Restaurants regulations, or for any other reason.

Outdoor Dining Inspections

NYC DOT teams conduct inspections and respond to complaints. We work with restaurants to improve their setups with the goal of bringing businesses into compliance whenever possible. Restaurants not in compliance will be issued notices to correct and, if still not in compliance, will be subject to penalties or removal.

Abandoned Outdoor Dining

All roadway seating must be used and occupied within 30 days of authorization. If roadway seating is not used and occupied for any 30-day period, any property within such roadway space may be deemed abandoned and the restaurant must have it removed. The City may remove the abandoned property after providing sufficient notice. Any restaurant can reapply to the program at any time after removal.

Permanent Outdoor Dining Program – Dining Out NYC

Due to the success of the emergency Open Restaurants Program during COVID-19, New York City is working to create a permanent outdoor dining program – Dining Out NYC. This program will be managed by NYC DOT and allow restaurants to use the sidewalk and roadway space in front of their businesses for outdoor dining.

Learn more at nyc.gov/diningout.

Resources

General:

Outdoor Dining Setup:

Contact Us

NYC Small Business Services (SBS) offers a variety of services at no cost to help your business start, operate or grow including business education courses, legal services, and more. Call SBS's Small Business Hotline at 888-SBS-4NYC (888-727-4692) to speak to a trained business specialist.

For questions about the Open Restaurants program or translation assistance with the application please contact us online.

NYC will rely on each establishment's compliance with all of these terms and conditions and all applicable guidance. If you want to report an issue, concern or violation about an Open Restaurant, please contact NYC311.

Looking for information about NYC’s Open Streets program? Visit NYC Open Streets.