Council Member Marjorie Velázquez hails passage of Outdoor Dining legislation

Council Member Marjorie Velázquez (D-13 Bronx), chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection, celebrated Int 031-C, also known as the ‘Outdoor Dining’ bill, which passed during today’s New York City Council Stated meeting. 

The bill creates a more robust outdoor dining program for New York City and is modeled after the highly successful program implemented as a direct result of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic that saved thousands of jobs and businesses across the five boroughs. The passing of the outdoor dining bill is seen as a huge victory for restaurant labor advocates, business owners, and “foodies” alike. 

During the Covid-19 pandemic, restaurants and their employees were hit hard. An executive order that allowed approximately 12,000 restaurants to reopen relieved the economic stress for many businesses while keeping the City’s economy afloat. In February 2022, Council Member Marjorie Velázquez introduced legislation to provide much-needed relief to those struggling to keep their businesses afloat while complying with social distancing guidelines. It has since become a standard of the industry’s model here in New York City, gaining traction and becoming popular with both restaurant owners and customers. 

 “Outdoor dining has been embraced as a creative solution to address the economic crisis. We have spent the past year negotiating and modifying the bill to be as inclusive and equitable as possible, meeting the needs of the different types of restaurants and eateries across our city. This was not a one-size-fits-all bill, and that’s the beauty of it. I am proud to have advocated for our small businesses throughout this process and look forward to seeing them thrive,” said Council Member Marjorie Velázquez, Chair of the Committee on Consumer and Worker Protection. “I would like to thank the City Council’s Legislative Division for their dedication in drafting a bill that will meet the needs of all parties, delivering to New Yorkers by presenting legislation that makes outdoor dining a reality for all. Special thanks to Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez and his team for taking on this incredible project; my colleagues at the New York City Council for their sponsorship of this bill, and the countless advocates for being a part of this moment in history.” 

 “We’re thrilled the City Council has passed this historic permanent outdoor dining program, including sidewalk cafes and streeteries. The new law will cut the red tape and fees for restaurants to participate when compared to the overly restrictive pre-pandemic sidewalk café licenses, which excluded so many restaurants throughout the five boroughs from offering al fresco dining,” said Andrew Rigie, executive director and Rob Bookman, counsel, NYC Hospitality Alliance. “We look forward to Mayor Adams’ signing this legislation into law and working with the Department of Transportation on the design guidelines and additional details to address issues that are important to restaurants and the communities they serve. Cheers to Council Member Marjorie Velazquez, Speaker Adrienne Adams and her team, and all the elected leaders and advocates for their support of this monumental public policy. New Yorkers should celebrate with a meal at an outdoor café!” 

Image courtesy of thesatimes

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