NYC's dining sheds have served their purpose — now it's time to shut the COVID dining huts

NYC's dining sheds have served their purpose — now it's time to shut the COVID dining huts

May 2, 2021
Petition to
Eric Adams and
Signatures: 3,593Next Goal: 5,000
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Why this petition matters

Started by CUEUP NYC

New York City's emergency outdoor dining program was meant to help restaurants survive the pandemic. It was never meant to be permanent. Yet just a few months after the temporary program started, the City Council passed NYC Local Law 114 mandating that Open Restaurants, and its more than 12,000 sheds cluttering our streets, be made permanent.

Day and night, Open Restaurants delivers constant noise, mounds of trash, rats, fire hazards, blocked sidewalks, and impassable streets. Firetrucks, ambulances, and other emergency services can’t access homes on narrow neighborhood streets. These problems have been there from the beginning for all to see. Yet the Mayor and the City Council choose not to look or listen.

The City Council held a single hearing about a law that could disrupt our streets forever. Barely publicized, few members of the public knew about the hearing or attended. Community Boards weren’t invited. The chief outside witnesses were representatives of the New York City Hospitality Alliance, the restaurant industry’s lobbying arm. Its counsel was consulted on the writing of the bill.

Last March, twenty-two New Yorkers won a lawsuit against the City's dubious moves to make their temporary program permanent. The court ordered the City to conduct legally-required environmental impact studies. Now the City is using New Yorker's tax dollars to appeal that ruling. 

And last month, on July 29th, another group of New Yorkers filed suit to put an end to the sham emergency orders that the Mayor and Governor keep issuing to prop up this pandemic-era program.

New York state and city have suspended or abandoned all other pandemic emergency orders and programs — including test-and-trace, vaccine and mask mandates, home food deliveries for the elderly and shut-ins, and free hotel rooms for those with COVID who need to self-isolate, eviction protections, and enhanced unemployment benefits — but emergency orders continue to be selectively issued for the benefit of the restaurant and nightlife industries.

Clearly, something smells with Open Restaurants and it isn’t the fish.

Restaurants are open, serving at full capacity. There are no vaccine requirements to eat indoors, and masking requirements are long gone.

It's time to shut the sheds.

We, the undersigned individuals and community organizations, demand that the Mayor and City Council immediately:

  • Return control of outdoor dining to the well-regulated sidewalk cafe program previously run by the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and Worker Protection.
  • Restore the public's right of way on streets and sidewalks immediately by removing roadbed and sidewalk pandemic-era seating set-ups.
  • Repeal NYC Local Law 114 and LU 0012-2022 (the Open Restaurants Zoning Text Amendment, known as "Citywide–N 210434 ZRY") and abandon plans to make this temporary program permanent.
  • Hold well-publicized, accessible public meetings in all five boroughs when contemplating any future changes to our streetscapes.

When pandemic emergency economic measures are making the city less livable for all of us, it's time to shut the dining sheds. 

— Coalition United for Equitable Urban Policy (CUEUP-NYC)


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Signatures: 3,593Next Goal: 5,000
Support now