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.

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

Find Open Restaurants near you.

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

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.

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.

In addition to following the rules for Open Restaurants, your business must also follow State-mandated rules to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. To learn more, visit the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Businesses page.

Learn about Open Restaurants program rules and restrictions.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about Open Restaurants.

Hours of Operation

Restaurants and bars must close indoor and outdoor dining from 12 AM to 5 AM daily. Takeout and delivery are still allowed after 12 AM for curbside, window, or other outdoor pickup only, except for alcoholic beverages. 

Customers must wear face coverings and may not linger or form lines to enter the inside of a licensed establishment:

  • To order and pick up food until 12 AM daily
  • To use the restroom
  • If the establishment has a licensed outdoor area accessible only through an interior space, to move through the interior of the premises to access the licensed outdoor area

Separate parties moving through the interior to a licensed outdoor area must be properly distanced.

Learn more about the State's 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. Beginning May 31, 2021, propane must be removed from outdoor dining set ups.
    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.

Snow

To protect your customers, staff, and property during a snow event:

  • Use snow sticks to increase visibility of your seating areas
  • Be prepared to remove items when a Winter Operations Advisory or a Snow Alert is issued

Sign up for snow alerts and updates from Notify NYC or follow @NotifyNYC on twitter. You should watch for two levels of advisories.

A Winter Operations Advisory is issued when winter weather is possible. Roadway dining may continue. The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) may spread salt and/or brine to prevent the road from freezing.

A Snow Alert is issued when one or more inches of snow are possible. DSNY may begin spreading salt and/or brine on the roadway up to 48 hours before an Alert begins. During this time, roadway dining must close by the time indicated in the Alert.

  • Remove or secure furniture and remove electric heaters. If possible, remove the tops of your structures. If the forecast calls for 12 inches of snow or more, remove or consolidate your structures, including barriers, to take up as little space as possible. This makes plowing easier and protects your property.
  • Remove snow and ice from your sidewalk. If you’re on a corner, clear a path to crosswalk.
  • Don’t block fire hydrants.
  • Don’t push snow into the street; this is illegal. You can place snow at the curb line, against the building, or on private property.

The City will announce when the snow alert is over and in-street dining may safely resume.

Learn more and download flyers in multiple languages.

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 or Deli 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.

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