New York closes streets to accommodate al fresco dining amid the pandemic

NEW YORK — Restaurant dining just got more accessible in New York City amid the pandemic.

The city has designated at least 22 street closures throughout the five boroughs to accommodate al fresco, or open-air dining.

On weekends, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s “open street plan” will cordon off about 100 miles of NYC pedestrian and biker lanes to give way to outdoor dining.

These diners said they’re enjoying their brunch at this Filipino restaurant’s sidewalk space.

“At least now, we can see our friends and family and although I’m not going to do this often and you have to have trust with whoever you’re seeing. You cannot avoid…you cannot really wear a mask while you’re eating.”

While diners welcome the new dining experience, business owners are still worried as they are still barely breaking even since indoor dining for phase 3 of reopening has been delayed.

“Even if they allow us the phase 3 open here, they will implement the 50% capacity of the restaurant which is not gonna be enough as well for us not only to survive but pay other bills like rent, back rent, insurances and other bills,” said Aris Tuazon.

The cost to rent brick and mortar spaces range from $10-$30,000 in NYC.

With most businesses locked down for at least 3 months – business owners said it’s almost impossible to survive amid the pandemic, and they need help.

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