Phase 2 outdoor dining starts Monday, and drinking on the streets is legal!

You may have seen the news reports already that Phase 2, of which outdoor dining is the cornerstone, will start Monday, June 22. And I just read the mayor’s executive order, and by my interpretation (read it here yourself if that is your thing) there are some very exciting provisions:

  • Drinking in the streets is no longer prohibited
  • Restaurants can set up sidewalk cafes AND seating in the street (“curbside”) without permits or licenses — including any space they control in a deed or a lease such as a parking lot
  • Restaurants don’t need licenses or permits to build an enclosure for a sidewalk cafe, and can erect a canopy over seating

Basically it sounds like a free-for-all. (Though all accessibility requirements, including space between tables, must be followed.) Restaurants can start applying today.

All these rules (or lack thereof) are all suspensions of sections of the Administrative Code of the City of New York, the Rules of New York City and the city’s Zoning Resolution, though he did say in his emergency executive order that they are “subject to applicable guidance issued by the Department of Transportation, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the New York State Department of Health, and the State Liquor Authority.”

But there is still a local glitch, and I am waiting on the DOT to let me know how this will play out here. All these new rules are part of the “Open Restaurants Program” that the Department of Transportation has been tasked to carry out. Sidewalk cafes seem simple, but the program is also supposed to include curbside and street space directly in front of restaurants and bars. So does that mean a restaurant can take over a parking space? And then are people sitting right next to oncoming traffic? UPDATE: The DOT says yes and yes. See drawing below for a guide.


And here’s another catch for the neighborhood: The sidewalk cafes can only be 8 feet deep, and must leave 8 feet of sidewalk. We do not have many 16-foot sidewalks, especially on the sidestreets. But the restaurants can takeover the city streets — they just have to install an 18-inch barrier between the traffic lane and their patrons (like planters).

And as it stands Tribeca has no open streets designated in the citys Open Streets program — only Fidi has a few (and I still maintain that we should close Duane Street around the park). So the city has to target a few by us if this is to help out local restaurants here. DOT says stay tuned for an upcoming announcement.

Also, to A.’s question: restaurants have to make their bathrooms available as well, using social distancing rules. The Department of Health guidelines are here.

All these rules are good till Labor Day for the most part, October for some. Let’s hope it’s what the doctor ordered.



  1. I do wish that they would close off Duane Park! It is not a necessary throughway.
    I also wish that the restaurants/bars would provide *AMPLE* trash receptacles- as a resident of Duane Park, it is super gross to see all the plastic cups and plates with foil strewn around. I can’t imagine people could be that inconsiderate, but some are. Trash cans will solve this!