De Blasio considers extending outdoor dining beyond Oct. 31

Get ready to bundle up for al fresco dining in the late fall.

Mayor de Blasio is considering extending the city’s coronavirus-induced outdoor dining program beyond its current endpoint of Oct. 31.

“We’re looking at that right now. We’re trying to get a sense from the restaurant community how much interest there is in going longer,” the mayor said at a remote City Hall press briefing Thursday.

“There’s definitely openness on our part to going longer if we think it will contribute something,” he added.

The immediate reaction on Twitter to the post-Halloween dining program was mixed.

“It can be doable with heat lamps. The holiday market in Union Square has had food stalls and outdoor eating with those the last few years,” wrote a Twitter user named Bill Bruno.

“Who is the psychopath that is going to dine outdoors in NYC in November?” asked another named AJ.

Outdoor dining is currently scheduled to restart on June 1, 2021, but de Blasio said he’s also talking to the industry about moving that date forward a month or two.

Fewer than half of the city’s 25,000 eateries have service outside and over half of the industry’s 300,000 workers are on unemployment.

De Blasio promised to re-evaluate the possibility of restarting indoor dining in a month or so– after saying he had no plan to fully reopen restaurants because it’s linked to COVID-19 outbreaks around the globe even though every other part of the state allows it.

“We’re continuing to look at the indoor question. It’s a very challenging question because of what we’ve seen around the world but we’re continuing to assess.

“And what matters most is our health situation. If we continue to improve on the health front that’s the gateway to be able to consider things that we can’t do right now. Just continuing to have proof that we’re pushing back this disease.”

“We’ll know a lot more in the next month plus as more and more people come back to work, as schools begin. We’ll get to see a lot about what our longterm health picture looks like and that’s going to help inform our decisions going forward,” he said.

Andrew Rigie, head of the NYC Hospitality Alliance, welcomed the news on outdoor dining but said the mayor’s not moving fast enough to bring indoor dining back.

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