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.

Find Open Restaurants near you.

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

  • Be located on the ground floor
  • Have a Food Establishment Permit from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene
  • Meet all program requirements

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 rooftop.

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.

Learn about Open Restaurants program rules and restrictions.

Get answers to frequently asked questions about Open Restaurants.

Hours of Operation

Restaurants and bars are required to close outdoor dining from 12 AM to 5 AM daily.

Businesses can choose to require masks for all customers.

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 no longer allowed as of May 31, 2021. Propane must be removed from outdoor dining set ups.

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.

Pest Control

If your restaurant is offering outdoor dining, you must take steps to control rats and other pests. 

Restaurants are responsible for managing rats around their dining structures, including when rats have made nests (also known as burrows) into adjacent street trees. 

Learn how to reduce rats and other pests around outdoor dining areas.


The Department of Sanitation (DSNY) issues a Snow Alert when one or more inches of snow are possible. To protect customers, staff, and property, Open Restaurants may need to close roadway dining when a Snow Alert is in effect and take other precautions.

When roadway dining is suspended, Open Restaurants will be notified by email.

You must:

  • Remove or secure any tables and chairs.
  • Remove all electrical heaters.
  • Remove any overhead coverings, if possible. At a minimum, please regularly remove the snow from overhead coverings until the snow alert ends.
  • Secure objects such as umbrellas, tents, tables, and chairs, or bring them inside if high winds are expected.

If 12 inches or more of snow is forecast, you must also:

  • Remove or consolidate roadway setups to have as small a footprint as possible along the curb.
  • Use snow sticks to increase the visibility of setup components if they are moved.

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

You can sign up to receive Snow Alerts and other updates from Notify NYC or follow @NotifyNYC on Twitter for announcements.

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.


Get help with Open Restaurants.

By Phone

  • Agency: Small Business Services
  • Division: NYC Small Business Services Hotline
  • Phone Number: 888-SBS-4NYC (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.

Food Safety

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


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.

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