NYC unveils permanent rules for outdoor dining

The Benefits of Outdoor Dining in New York City


Mayor Eric Adams of New York City recently signed a bill mandating guidelines for permanent outdoor dining in the city. This move is aimed at creating “clean, safe, and rat-free” dining atmosphere for the city’s residents and tourists. The implementation of this new regulation follows earlier announcements by the Mayor and the Department of Transportation (DOT) concerning the licensing aspect of outdoor dining sheds.

Dining Out NYC Guidelines and Regulations

The new guidelines consist of design requirements that restaurants must adhere to achieve the best possible outdoor dining experience. Requirements such as ADA compliance, specific distances from fire hydrants, cellar doors, and subway infrastructure are laid out in the guidelines. Guidelines are also in place for weighted barriers to protect diners from traffic, screening types, allowable flooring materials, connections to awnings and electrical systems, plantings, and emergency vehicle access. The use of transparent, less opaque dining pavilions with clear sight lines is encouraged.

This regulation, referred to as Dining Out NYC, aims to expand sidewalk dining to all five NYC boroughs year-round. Restaurants will have the opportunity to set up booths on the street for eight months between April and November.

The Benefits

Outdoor Dining During a Pandemic

The temporary outdoor dining initiative permitted venues to set up outdoor dining exclusively on the sidewalks during the pandemic. The success of this program led to the creation of Dining Out NYC. Outdoor dining was credited with the preservation of over 100,000 service jobs during the height of the pandemic.

Equity and Accessibility

The new guidelines emphasize equity and accessibility. It provides a scalable, equitable fee collection structure for participating restaurants. Fees for restaurants will depend on their location and size and will be considerably lower than those charged during the pre-pandemic sidewalk cafe program.


The new bill requires adherence to design guidelines that will ensure safe, beautiful, and clean outdoor dining setups that are available to restaurants in all five boroughs. The regulations aim to create outdoor dining areas that are aesthetically appealing, enhancing the overall ambiance of the neighborhoods in which they are located. Jesse Lazar, executive director of AIA New York, said, “The permanent program builds on the success of the temporary program, while addressing many of the challenges that arose. We are particularly pleased to see a focus on equity and accessibility, as well as a commitment to design.”


The permanent implementation of the Dining Out NYC initiative in New York City is a significant step towards creating a safe, beautiful, and clean outdoor dining experience for tourists and city residents. By adhering to guidelines and regulations laid out by the bill, restaurant owners can offer their customers a unique and enjoyable dining experience.

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Read more about this topic at
NYC’s Temporary Open Restaurants Program
NYC DOT – Temporary Open Restaurants Program FAQ

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