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 Boulevards 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.

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.

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.

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.