The program provides expanded space for businesses to safely operate during the pandemic. On December 29, 2020, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that the Open Storefronts Program would be extended through September 30, 2021. The Open Storefronts Program allows storefront businesses to use a portion of the sidewalk to display merchandise, complete transactions, sell goods and provide queuing areas to provide businesses with more space to expand and safely operate throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will also be expanded to allow businesses to sell prepackaged food on sidewalks and allow restaurants to use sidewalks for take-out orders.
Businesses that participate in the Open Storefronts program must maintain an eight-foot clear path of sidewalk from the curb, and are only allowed to operate in the space outside their own businesses, not adjacent ones. All furniture and goods must be brought inside when the business closes for the day. Businesses that operate under the Open Restaurants program may also use the curb lane directly in front of their businesses to operate. Businesses that wish to participate in the Open Storefronts program can check eligibility requirements and apply online at www.nyc.gov/openstorefronts.
Mayor de Blasio stated, “Open Storefronts has given business owners an easy way to maximize their space and keep customers safe as they shop. And by introducing restaurants into the program, we’re giving local eateries more ways than ever to keep their communities vibrant. We remain committed to giving small businesses more chances to thrive, and we’re excited to give them more opportunities to participate in this program throughout the winter and warmer months.”
Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of Small Business Services, stated, “The pandemic has caused the City to reimagine the way we use our public spaces to help our small business economy, while adhering to health and safety regulations. Extending the Open Storefronts program will help both retail and restaurant businesses stay resilient and provide a much-needed boost during these unprecedented times.”
By: Veronica Rose (Veronica is the CityLaw fellow and a New York Law School graduate, Class of 2018.)