Select a topic below for information to help you and your business, including tips to stay safe and prevent the spread of germs.
As of 4/27, guests are no longer required to purchase food with an alcoholic beverage when dining at an SLA-licensed establishment.
- The purchase of food is still required for take-out and delivery alcohol orders.
As of 5/3, bar seating is now allowed in New York City and catered events can resume at residences, following State guidance.
As of 5/17, the curfew for catered events where attendees have proof of vaccination status or negative COVID-19 test result AND
for private outdoor dining areas have been lifted. Note:
The midnight curfew for Open Restaurants sidewalk and roadway seating are still in effect.
As of 5/19, in accordance to New York State's summary guidance on mask wearing and social distancing
, businesses may allow fully vaccinated individuals to not wear face coverings or socially distance, with proof of vaccination by paper form, digital application, the State's Excelsior Pass
, or self-reporting (e.g. honor system).
As of 5/19, indoor dining capacity has been lifted New York City.
As of 5/31, the curfew for indoor dining and all catered events has been lifted.
What Operators Must Do Before Reopening
- Read all of the New York State guidelines for the appropriate phase:
Summary of Guidelines for Outdoor and Take-Out/Delivery Food Services
Summary of Guidelines for Indoor Food Services
- Fill out the affirmation form:
Read and Affirm Detailed Guidelines for Outdoor and Take-Out/Delivery Food Services
Read and Affirm Detailed Guidelines for Indoor Food Service
Once you have finished reading the guidance, make sure to open the link at the bottom of the document to digitally affirm that you read and understand the guidance.
- Develop a Safety Plan and keep a copy of it on site:
NY Forward Safety Plan Template (PDF) (English)
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Resources - Reopening
Health and Safety
Remember the four key actions all New Yorkers should take to prevent COVID-19 transmission:
Read the COVID-19 Cases in the Workplace FAQ (PDF)
- Stay home if sick: unless you are leaving for essential medical care (including testing) or other essential errands.
- Physical distancing: Stay at least six feet away from other people.
- Wear a face covering: Protect those around you. You can be contagious without symptoms and spread the disease when you cough, sneeze or talk. A face covering may help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
- Practice healthy hand hygiene: Wash your hands often with soap and water or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available. Clean frequently touched surfaces regularly. Avoid touching your face with unwashed hands, and cover your cough or sneeze with your sleeve, not your hands.
Call the Health Department right away at 866-692-3641 with any questions or to report a confirmed COVID-19 case.
Physical Distancing and Face Coverings
These guidelines, and other health and safety protocols, apply to all areas of your operation, including any outdoor dining areas.
- Give workers free face coverings and provide replacements. Workers must stay at least six feet from others and wear a face covering if they are less than six feet from others. If you are a small business looking to secure free face coverings for your employees, find a distribution partner located near you.
- Customers should wear a face covering whenever they may be within six feet of another person. A business may set stricter rules for customers about wearing face coverings, including refusing service for those not wearing face coverings.
- To help your business reopen safely, the City has compiled this directory of local and national manufacturers and suppliers of non-medical PPE and other supplies for COVID-19 related workplace modifications. (These companies are not endorsed by the City of New York.)
Resources - Health and Safety
Guidance for Outdoor Dining
Currently, NYC restaurants can open for table service in outdoor areas. “Outdoor space” is an open-air space without a fixed roof. Outdoor spaces may include public sidewalks, curb lanes or other approved areas, and outdoor private areas on premises.
Enclosures with a temporary or fixed cover (i.e. awning, roof, or tent) must have at least two open sides for airflow to be considered "outdoor space". If three (3) side walls or more are in use, it will be considered indoor dining and may not currently be in use. Enclosed structures, such as plastic domes, must have adequate ventilation to allow for air circulation.
Restaurants with access to privately owned outdoor space may open in this space, as long as following the appropriate NYS and NYC health guidance and NYC DOB Guidelines.
Guidance for Use of Heating Devices
The NYC Department of Buildings (DOB) released additional guidance regarding the use of heating elements to winterize outdoor dining setups.
Participants in the Open Restaurants program interested in providing comfort heating for their customers in outdoor dining areas have three options:
Food service establishments with private outdoor dining spaces may use heating devices subject to the applicable guidance from FDNY and/or DOB.
Read the Counsel to the Mayor's Outdoor Heaters for Outdoor Dining FAQ.
Open Restaurants Program
Establishments seeking permission to place outdoor seating in front of their establishment on the sidewalk and/or roadway should apply for the NYC Department of Transportation (DOT)'s Open Restaurants Program.
Note: This application is only for establishments seeking permissions to place outdoor seating in front of their establishment on the sidewalk and/or roadway. You do not need to apply if you are looking to place outdoor seating on private property. You must complete an application and certify even if you already have a NYC sidewalk cafe license.
Learn More and Apply for the Open Restaurant Program
For help completing the application, please call the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) hotline: 888-SBS-4NYC
On September 25, 2020, NYC announced that the popular Open Restaurants program will be made permanent
. The program, currently under development, will continue to allow food service establishments with business frontage on the ground floor and licensed by the NYC Dept. of Health to utilize sidewalk and roadway area for outdoor seating.
Open Restaurants Siting Criteria - Winter 2021
*Important: These adjustments were required by December 15, 2020
Sandbags, reflector tape, snow sticks, and plastic barriers were made available to all participants, free of charge. Participating restaurants were emailed with distribution and pickup detail. Limited deliveries of plastic barriers were made to the "high priority" restaurants; those restaurants have all been contacted separately.
- All 18" roadway barriers must be completely filled with soil or sand
- Barriers must have a fully built interior wall and bottom to hold filler material
- Continuous reflector tape must be added along the top outside edges, and snow sticks must be added to the corners of the two barriers facing traffic
During an active snow alert:
- Diners may not sit in roadway setups. Tables and chairs in roadway must be removed or secured.
- All electrical heaters in roadway setups must be removed
- At minimum, regularly remove snow from overhead coverings until the snow alert ends.
Download the Plastic Water-Filled Barriers How-Tos Flyer (PDF)
Please continue to watch for emails from us (sign up here
) as more information will be shared.
For questions about the Open Restaurants program, self-certification process, or translation assistance with the application, please contact DOT online.
NYC is temporarily expanding outdoor seating options for food establishments. The program is expanding seating options for restaurants on select restaurant corridors citywide by temporarily closing streets to traffic to create outdoor dining space. Community-based organizations, BIDs and restaurant groups applying through a single entity may apply for Open Streets: Restaurants online.
Open Restaurants Accessibility Requirements
As NYC re-opens post-COVID19 and restaurants expand outdoor seating to accommodate social distancing, we cannot forget about accessibility. This information lays out the requirements for maintaining physical accessibility for outdoor dining
Virtual Compliance Consultations: Open Restaurants Program
The NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) offers one-on-one free virtual compliance consultations to help you understand how to comply with key City rules. Our virtual consultations will help you understand key City rules and common compliance challenges related to the Open Restaurants Program - we will not
issue violations or fines.
Business owners are encouraged to request a consultation if they:
- Have recently applied to Open Restaurants and are getting to ready to provide food service
- Are actively participating in Open Restaurants but continue to have questions/concerns
- Are interested in applying to Open Restaurants but have not yet done so
You can sign up for our Virtual Compliance Consultation service at no cost by logging into your SBS Connect account or creating a new account. Sign Up for a Virtual Compliance Consultation
The Open Storefronts program assists existing ground-floor storefront businesses who want to use outdoor areas on a temporary basis. The program allows eligible businesses to conduct activity on sidewalks, on roadways (only in the Open Streets: Restaurants program), or a combination of both. The program has been extended through September 30th, 2021 and now allows businesses to sell pre-packaged food on sidewalks and restaurants to use sidewalks for take-out orders
For a list of eligible retail activities and detailed siting criteria, visit nyc.gov/openstorefront
Apply here: Open Storefronts Dashboard & Application
Next Steps: Businesses that self-certified will receive an email from the City authorizing outdoor retail on the City's sidewalk and/or roadway in front of the establishment, in accordance with all applicable terms and conditions, laws and guidance. Businesses should print and prominently display their Open Storefronts email confirmation.
Resources - Outdoor Dining
Guidance for Indoor Dining
Restaurants and other food service establishments were allowed to reopen for indoor dining starting on February 12.
They are subject to rigorous inspection protocols and strict occupancy limits. Some requirements include:
- Check the temperature of every customer at the front door
- Collect contact information from at least one customer in each party
- Offer COVID-19 protections like PPE for employees, make sure that employees are wearing face coverings at all times, and remind customers to wear face coverings when not eating or drinking
Catered Private Events
As of May 19, the State's social gathering limits are 250 attendees indoors and 500 attendees outdoors.
A venue operator hosting an indoor event with more than 250 attendees, or an outdoor event with more than 500 attendees, must notify the NYC Health Department at least five days prior by submitting an In-Person and Catered Event Notification Form
For more details on New York State requirements, see page 7 of the NYS Interim Guidance for Food Services During the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency
** Indoor events above the gathering limit require unvaccinated individuals to present proof of recent negative COVID-19 test result.
Resources - Indoor Dining
NYS Guidance for Businesses Selling or Serving Alcohol
On June 18, Governor Cuomo amended Executive Order 202.43 (EO) to include updated guidance for food and beverage establishments effective immediately.
Under the amended Executive Order 202.43
, businesses selling or serving alcohol to be consumed at the business or elsewhere must ensure that everyone within 100 feet of their business is:
- In compliance with open-container, social-distancing, and face-covering rules; and
- Following all existing rules, regulations, and laws.
Businesses that cannot follow these guidelines must stop selling alcohol until they can.
Violations could result in having a license suspended or revoked, with fines up to $10,000 per violation.
Patrons can also be fined for breaking open container or social distancing rules. You can learn more and watch the announcement here. Full Guidance from the State Liquor Authority
Additionally, as part of the "Three Strikes and You're Closed" initiative
, any establishment that receives three violations will be shut down. Outdoor dining is for just that: outdoor dining. New York State does not approve outdoor bars where you set up tables for people to place drinks and then have a block party of 100 people mingling outside. Citizens can report violations to the NYS Liquor Authority. NYS Liquor Authority (SLA) Guidance on Outdoor Expansion of Licensed Premises in Response to COVID-19 Outbreak
Read SLA guidance and FAQs about on-premise licenses in relation to outdoor dining and "to-go" alcoholic beverages here.
Posters and Flyers
Download and print to hang in your place of business with information for employees and customers. If you would like to order copies of these posters and flyers by mail, call 311.