The newly extended program allows restaurants to use municipal spaces for outdoor seating.

By Jessica Poitevien
July 09, 2021
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After over a year of New York restaurants taking to the streets and sidewalks to comply with rules sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, the outdoor dining plan implemented by Gov. Andrew Cuomo will continue into 2022.

The original legislation came in June 2020, allowing restaurants to use municipal spaces such as sidewalks and streets to expand their capacity with outdoor dining. The goal was to give these eateries an economic boost that would aid in their recovery from the pandemic-induced losses, while still keeping New Yorkers and visitors safe.

Outdoor seating at Olio e Piu.
Credit: Jeff Greenberg/Getty Images

The outdoor dining program was slated to last one year, but this week, Cuomo announced that he had extended the timeline of the initiative for another year.

"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," Cuomo said in his announcement.

New York City was already ahead of the game, having created a separate program to make the new outdoor dining options a permanent feature of the Big Apple. The program, called Open Streets, transforms certain city streets into public spaces that prioritizes use by pedestrians and cyclists while making it easier to support small and local businesses.

Cuomo started scaling back on COVID-19-related safety measures in February. By May, New York saw far fewer new cases of coronavirus than in previous months, prompting Cuomo to repeal mandates that implemented capacity limits for most businesses.

Jessica Poitevien is a Travel + Leisure contributor currently based in South Florida, but always on the lookout for the next adventure. Besides traveling, she loves baking, talking to strangers, and taking long walks on the beach. Follow her adventures on Instagram.