It's now easier to dine with your dog on patios in New York City

ByMike Waterhouse WABC logo
Tuesday, March 15, 2016

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- New York City's Health Department has made it easier to enjoy a patio meal with your dog.

The department finalized the rules for the city, after a new state law allowed local officials to establish their own guidelines around pets in outdoor dining areas.

Here's a breakdown of the new rules:

- Restaurants allowing dogs in outdoor areas must post a sign to alert customers that dogs must be licensed and vaccinated against rabies (previously, restaurants had to check - but that's no longer the case)

- Restaurants must use barriers or other methods to limit contact between dogs in the outdoor dining area and dogs and people on an adjacent sidewalk

- Only restaurants that allow dogs in outdoor dining areas are required to post the sign - so that'll help you spot which establishments are doggy friendly.

The health department said it's planning to issue further guidance on "effective strategies for separating dogs who have joined diners from passersby."

"These new rules ensure that restaurant patrons can bring their dogs to outdoor areas, while also keeping other diners protected," said Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett. "The new regulations will be applied fairly and enforced with the public's health in mind."

The new rules take effect 30 days after they're publicized, so you'll be able to dine with your dog starting April 14.

Service dogs have been, and will continue to be, permitted at all restaurants.