Omicron Update NYC: City Council pushing to make permanent outdoor dining rules

Program was first introduced to help restaurants deal with pandemic restrictions
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Outdoor dining may be here to stay in New York.

On Tuesday, city council will begin debating a new bill to make the dining sheds permanent.

"It's important we save our small businesses, our restaurants," said bill sponsor Marjorie Velazquez, "What's worse to public safety is an empty storefront."

In a city where there is stiff competition for every square inch, there are now 12 thousand such structures, and not everyone is happy about all the real estate going into restaurants.

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It means foods like like macaroni and cheese, pizza, and mozzarella sticks will be off the menu.

"There are people who live on blocks who haven't had their streets cleaned in two years," said one protester.

Dozens protested in the Village on Saturday, citing an increase in garbage, rats and people sleeping in the sheds, saying it is time for New York City to regain its sidewalks and streets.

Both sides plan to testify at City Hall this week.

Mayor Eric Adams is in favor of making the sheds permanent.

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