Reopen News: Outdoor dining shifts into high gear in NYC

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- A combination of two popular programs, Open Streets and Open Restaurants, moves into high gear in New York City heading into the holiday weekend.

The city announced the specific locations across all five boroughs for expanded outdoor dining in an effort to help the struggling restaurant industry.

The program being rolled out after the mayor announced earlier this week that the city is postponing the start of indoor dining.

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Several restaurants along Arthur Avenue in the Belmont section of the Bronx already have extensive outdoor seating set up in the street.

Now the plan is to close down the entire street all weekend and fill it with tables.

It is an extension of the city's Open Streets program that has been expanding all summer.

They are calling it Open Restaurants.

Three or more restaurants on a single block can now join together for extended outdoor dining Friday nights through the weekend on closed streets.

"Some of them will be existing Open Streets, some will be new," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "But it's going to be amazing, because it's going to key into some of the places in our city where we have extraordinary restaurants concentrated in one place. People love to go there in any time. But now imagine being able to enjoy it all alfresco."

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One problem some restaurants have run into is regulations from the city's Department of Transportation.

Inspectors are now requiring 18-inch barriers between diners and vehicle traffic.

That's an expensive change that some restaurants are now having to implement at the last minute - an added cost for businesses that are already hurting.

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It overwhelmed the health care industry, it put millions out of work, it drowned social services in an ocean of need and threatened the food supply Americans had long since taken for granted. At the apex of the crisis and for the weeks that followed, no part of life, or even what followed life, was spared.


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