Select a topic below for information to help you and your business.
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- New York State COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted
As of June 15th, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that COVID-19 restrictions are lifted immediately. The State's health guidance and New York Forward industry specific guidelines—including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing—are now optional for food service businesses.
Learn more here: Governor Cuomo Announces COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted as 70% of Adult New Yorkers Have Received First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine.
- Temporary Alcohol To-Go/Delivery Privileges Ended
This means the end of the temporary to-go and delivery privileges for bars, restaurants, and manufacturers, and the resumption of those privileges only as they exist under the law, (e.g., on premises retailers may only sell beer, cider, and mead to-go or for delivery, and manufacturers may generally make sales only to persons physically at the premises.)
Learn more here: on the SLA Website.
- Filing for Open Restaurants Alcohol Service
Governor Cuomo signed legislation allowing food and beverage businesses to continue using municipal space and the State Liquor Authority will also continue to permit bars and restaurants to serve alcohol in these dining areas under the NYC DOT Open Restaurants Program for another year.
The SLA has posted guidance on its website for new filing obligations which restaurants serving alcohol in these outdoor areas must comply with by October 5.
- Health Department Inspections Resume
The NYC Dept. of Health and Mental Hygiene resumed conducting full inspections on July 19, 2021, including issuing letter grades and summonses subject to fines.
Emergency Executive Order No. 214 states that Health Department permit holders have until August 14, 2021 to renew their Food Service Establishment permits. Renewal notices are currently being mailed and permit holders may renew now.
As part of NYC Business Quick Start, a Small Business Advocate can help you with the renewal.
Learn more about the DOHMH Inspection Process here.
- Protections for Fast Food Workers
On July 5, 2021, Mayor de Blasio signed two bills expanding protections for fast food workers in New York City. Together, these bills protect fast food workers from being fired without "just cause" or for a bona fide economic reason.
- If you are NOT fully vaccinated, please wear your mask (PDF).
Call the Health Department right away at 866-692-3641 with any questions or to report a confirmed COVID-19 case.
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.
Restaurants with access to privately owned outdoor space may open in this space, as long as following the appropriate NYS and NYC health guidance.
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. NYC Open Restaurants Supplemental FAQ
- 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)
Open Restaurants Accessibility Requirements
As NYC re-opens post-COVID19 and restaurants expand outdoor seating, 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
NYC's Open Streets
program allows communities to embrace new public space and support small businesses. Open Streets prioritize pedestrians and cyclists by transforming streets into public space. This program allows for a range of activities and supports local businesses and schools.
Open Streets are coordinated in partnership with local community organizations. Public and private schools may also submit an application for Open Streets. All applications must be submitted by the school administration.
For questions about the Open Restaurants program, self-certification process, or translation assistance with the application, please contact DOT online.
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.
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/openstorefronts
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
The State's health guidance and New York Forward industry specific guidelines — including social gathering limits, capacity restrictions, social distancing, cleaning and disinfection, health screening, and contact information for tracing — are now optional for food service businesses.
Learn more here: Governor Cuomo Announces COVID-19 Restrictions Lifted as 70% of Adult New Yorkers Have Received First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine. The CDC has relaxed their guidance for face coverings for fully vaccinated individuals.
Per New York State, businesses may:
Read more about implementing CDC Guidance in this newsletter from the Governor's office.
- Require masks and six feet of social distancing for all patrons within their establishment OR require unvaccinated individuals to continue to wear masks and be socially distanced and allow fully vaccinated individuals to not wear face coverings or socially distance.
- Businesses may require proof of vaccination status OR may rely on self-reporting (e.g. honor system).
Catered Private Events
Large-scale indoor events (with more than 5,000 attendees) must still adhere to existing COVID-19 health protocols per State's implementation of CDC guidelines.
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.
Is your restaurant struggling to find staff?
Hospitality Hire is a no-cost recruitment resource to help meet the immediate staffing needs of restaurant businesses citywide.
Our Workforce1 Career Centers can tap our pool of 100,000+ candidates to identify qualified individuals to meet your Front-of-House and Back-of-House hiring needs by:
- Sourcing job seekers through its candidate databases, paid advertisements (at no cost to you) and through local partner organizations
- Recruiting and screening candidates based on your needs—and referring the most qualified to your restaurant
- Scheduling interviews
For more information or to view a webinar recording, please use the following links:
Submit a request for hiring assistance here.