Open Restaurants is a year-round program that allows bars and restaurants to place outdoor seating in front of their establishment on the sidewalk or roadway.

If you own a restaurant or bar, you must apply for Open Restaurants certification to offer outdoor dining service, even if you already have an Unenclosed Sidewalk Café License or a Small Sidewalk Café License.

You don't need to apply for the Open Restaurants program to place outdoor seating on your restaurant or bar's private property, such as a private yard, parking lot, terrace, or roof top.

Open Restaurants may also participate in the Open Streets: Restaurants program.

Find Open Restaurants near you.

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in certain neighborhoods, the City is implementing restrictions for businesses, schools, and gatherings in three zones identified by the State—red, orange, yellow. Red zones are the areas of the most concern and the greatest restrictions.

Citywide Restrictions:

Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases citywide, all public school buildings are closed Thursday, November 19 until further notice. Blended learning students have been switched to remote-only learning. Remote learning continues for all other students. To learn more, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Schools page.

In addition, as of Friday, November 13: 

  • All gyms and fitness centers must close from 10 PM to 5 AM daily.
  • All restaurants and bars must close indoor and outdoor dining from 10 PM to 5 AM daily. Takeout and delivery are still allowed after 10 PM, except for alcoholic beverages.

Manhattan COVID Zones:

  • Effective November 25, a yellow zone, which covers a large portion of upper Manhattan, has been added. (Effective date for non-public schools is November 30)

Staten Island COVID Zones:

  • Effective November 25, the entire borough of Staten Island has been covered by either an orange or a yellow zone. (Effective date for non-public schools in portions of Staten Island with zone color changes is November 30)

Bronx COVID Zones:

  • Effective November 19, two yellow zones, which cover large portions of the Bronx, have been added.

Brooklyn COVID Zones:

  • Effective November 19, the orange zone has moved to yellow.
  • Effective November 19, the pre-existing yellow zone has been removed.

Queens COVID Zones:

  • Effective November 19, the Queens yellow zone has been expanded.
Type of ActivityRed ZoneOrange ZoneYellow Zone
SchoolsCLOSED
Remote only
OPEN
Mandatory weekly testing of a portion of students and staff for in-person settings.
BusinessesEssential businesses openEssential and low-risk non-essential businesses open *Open
Mass GatheringsProhibited10 people maximum, indoor and outdoor25 people maximum, indoor and outdoor
DiningDelivery and takeout only

Delivery, takeout, and outdoor dining only

4 person maximum per table

Delivery, takeout, outdoor and indoor dining allowed

4 person maximum per table

Worship25% capacity
10 people maximum
33% capacity
25 people maximum
50% capacity

* High-risk non-essential businesses must be closed, including gyms and fitness centers and personal care services (such as barbers, hair salons, spas, tattoo or piercing parlors, nail technicians and nail salons, cosmetologists, estheticians, laser hair removal, and electrolysis)

The City has created a zone look-up tool to help New Yorkers check which zone they are located in.

Use the COVID-19 Zone Finder.

To report a business in a COVID-19 zone not following zone guidelines, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Zone Business Complaint page.

To report a school not following COVID-19 health and safety rules, visit the School Reopening Complaint page.

To be eligible to participate in Open Restaurants, your restaurant or food service business must:

When you apply, you acknowledge that you understand and agree to all applicable terms and conditions and all applicable laws and guidance for operating your outdoor dining area.

If you are not compliant, the City may revoke or suspend its authorization at any time during the program period.

Hours of Operation

Beginning on Friday, November 13, restaurants, bars, and any other establishments with a NY State liquor license must close for dining from 10 PM to 5 AM daily. Takeout and delivery are still allowed after 10 PM.

Learn more about the State's new rules.

You must remove tables and chairs or secure them in place when not in operation.

Heating Equipment

Open Restaurants can incorporate heating elements into their outdoor dining setups. 

You have three heating equipment options:

  • Propane heaters are allowed on sidewalks only and require a permit from FDNY and compliance with FDNY regulations for outdoor use, handling, and secure outdoor tank storage overnight. 
    Get guidelines for using propane heaters.

Tent Enclosures

Restaurants are allowed to use tent enclosures to keep diners warm. 

  • In partial tent enclosures, at least 50% of the tent’s side wall surface area must remain open. Electrical heaters are allowed.
  • In full tent enclosures, the tent’s side walls may be closed but occupancy limitations are capped at 25% of capacity. Indoor dining guidelines must be followed. Electrical heaters are allowed.
  • Enclosed structures, such as plastic domes, are allowed for individual parties and must have adequate ventilation to allow for air circulation.

Learn about Open Restaurants program rules and restrictions.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about Open Restaurants.

Note that in addition to the rules for Open Restaurants, businesses must also follow State-mandated health and safety rules for their industry. To learn more, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Businesses page.

To speed up the approval process, the City is allowing restaurants and bars to self-certify that they meet program requirements.

You will need to provide:

  • Business name (“Doing Business As” name), address, and contact information
  • Food Service Establishment Permit number
  • Dimensions of sidewalk and/or roadway seating areas

If you are planning to serve alcohol, you must also provide:

  • State Liquor Authority (SLA) serial number
  • SLA license information
  • Licensee certification

When you apply, you acknowledge that you understand and agree to all applicable terms and conditions and all applicable laws and guidance.

Learn more and apply for the Open Restaurants Program.

If you are a restaurant or bar owner and have questions about Open Restaurants, self-certification, or program requirements, you can get help online or by phone.

Online

Get help with Open Restaurants.

By Phone

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Business Restart Hotline
  • Phone Number: (888) 727-4692
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

Outdoor Dining

To report an Open Restaurant not following program guidelines, including seating areas that are blocking streets or sidewalks, visit the Outdoor Dining Complaint page.

Health and Safety

Open Restaurants, like other businesses, must follow State-mandated health and safety guidelines for their industry. To report a business that isn’t following health and safety rules, go to the Business Reopening Complaint page.

Food Safety

You can report problems with food safety practices in Open Restaurants, including unsanitary conditions and pests. Learn more on the Restaurant, Deli, or Food Cart Complaint page.

Noise

To report noise from a food establishment, visit the Noise from Bar, Club, or Restaurant page.

Alcohol Service

Bars and restaurants can serve alcoholic beverages only if they are licensed by the State Liquor Authority and submit all appropriate documents with their Open Restaurants application.

Open Restaurants may also only serve alcohol to people ordering and eating food.

To report an Open Restaurant serving alcohol without a license, visit the Alcohol License Check page.

To report an Open Restaurant serving alcohol to customers who are not ordering food, visit the Alcohol Sale Complaint page.

Open Streets: Restaurants is a year-round program that expands outdoor dining space for food establishments by closing select streets to vehicle traffic on Friday evenings and on weekends.

Only community-based organizations, Business Improvement Districts (BID), or groups of three or more food establishments can apply to close streets in their neighborhood.

To participate in Open Streets: Restaurants, individual restaurants, bars, or cafes must apply for the Open Restaurants program separately.

Learn more and apply for the Open Streets: Restaurants program.