Snow to halt outdoor dining in New York City during storm on Wednesday

New York News
NEW YORK CITY (WABC) — On the heels of indoor dining being suspended in New York City due to an uptick in coronavirus cases, outdoor dining is taking a hit as well thanks to the major winter storm headed to the Tri-State area.

When an inch of snow is predicted, and as many as 10 could fall in and around the city, a “snow alert” is triggered that requires restaurants to remove or secure outdoor furniture and remove their electric heaters.

As a result, outdoor dining will be suspended at 2 p.m. Wednesday when the Department of Sanitation’s snow alert takes effect.

Restaurants will be permitted to reopen when the alert ends, which is anticipated to be Thursday night but could run into Friday depending on the storm’s intensity.

ALSO READ | Winter Storm Warning: Here’s how much to expect

If the forecast calls for a foot of snow or more, restaurants must remove or consolidate structures, including barriers, to take up as little space as possible and make plowing easier. However, that is not expected this week.

The city is using a new term this year, a “winter operations advisory,” when the forecast is under an inch of total accumulation. Outdoor dining is permitted to remain open under those circumstances, and Monday was a “winter operations advisory.”

The Latino Restaurant, Bar, and Lounge Association held a march Tuesday, pleading for a comprehensive relief package for restaurants and predicting as many as two-thirds will close without one.

“I think the governor in the beginning did an amazing job of, you know, getting things under control,” association president Jeffrey Garcia said. “But you know what? At the end of the day, we are not the reason. 1.4% is not the reason to close the whole industry down.”

The number refers to data that shows fewer than 2%t of New York’s infections can be linked directly to bars and restaurants.

“He needs to find a way to stop those indoor gatherings and clandestine parties and not close us down,” Garcia said.

Many fear this week’s shutdown of outdoor dining could be a preview of the future.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said if the numbers continue to trend in the wrong direction the city could be headed for a full shutdown, and Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted it could resemble what the city experienced in the spring.

“It’s going to very much resemble what we saw in the spring,” he said. “My nomination would be right after Christmas. If we implement it with some good luck, we could be out of it in weeks.”

ALSO READ | Weather updates: NY area bracing for major winter storm

Cuomo mentioned the criticism he’s getting for shutting down indoor dining in New York City and said actually, businesses should be happy.

“You should be happy, because if we don’t change the trajectory, we’re going to go to shut down, and then your business is going to close,” Cuomo said. “That, my friends, is a real problem. Worry about that, because that is a real worry. Deaths are a worry and the shutdown of the economy are the real worries, and they are viable worries.”

The Department of Sanitation said that the Snow Alert could be lifted by Thursday, but as late as Friday, and then outdoor dining could resume.

A Snow Alert is enacted when:
– There is over an inch of accumulation
– Roadway dining must close
– Entire structure must be broken down if over 12″ forecast

Mayor Bill de Blasio spoke out about the approaching storm

ALSO READ | Legendary Midtown restaurant closes due to the pandemic

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