Gov. Cuomo signs law to allow continued use of municipal space for outdoor dining

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(Photo by Andrej Ivanov / AFP) (Photo by ANDREJ IVANOV/AFP via Getty Images)

ALBANY, N.Y. (WROC) — Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Wednesday that will allow restaurants to continue to utilize municipal spaces like sidewalks and streets for outdoor dining.

The bill, known legally as S.6353-A/A.7733, will allow restaurants to operate on sidewalks and closed streets, and extends a “critical lifeline” to restaurants and bars.

“As we build New York back better than it was before, it’s important that we learn from the past and capitalize on those efforts that helped so many of New York’s small businesses survive amid the global pandemic,” Gov. Cuomo said in a Wednesday press release. “By extending the much-needed lifeline that allowed restaurants to use outdoor public spaces for seating during the pandemic, New York is ensuring that these small businesses will be able to continue to use these spaces as they work to rebuild and support the revitalization of the Empire State.”

First granted under an executive order this law allows restaurants to continue using these public spaces for another year as they recover from the economic devastation brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Initially issued in June 2020 and expiring after a year, the governor’s executive order allowed restaurants and bars to serve their patrons food or beverages on-premises in outdoor space while their indoor capacity was limited. Specifically, these establishments were permitted to expand the licensed premises to use public space such as sidewalks or closed streets, subject to reasonable limitations and procedures set by the State Liquor Authority and the safety and supervision plans of the local municipality.

Restaurant usage of outdoor public space must meet all federal, state, and local laws, rules, and guidance, according to the signed legislation. Restaurants must also have a temporary use permit from the municipality, which is tasked with ensuring the public space is used in a safe, orderly manner. New applicants will need to provide community notification in a manner consistent state Alcoholic Beverage Control Law.

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