NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is less than a week away from Phase 1 of reopening, and plans for Phase 2 are already in the works.
Fancy restaurant dining right now is limited to savoring a slice while standing for Queens resident David Zaldivar.
But a chance to finally sit down and be served by waitstaff is just weeks away in New York City.
It’s included in Phase 2 reopening for New York City, but it’s outdoor seating only.
“The outdoor I’m more comfortable with. There’s more space, more air moving around. I’m more comfortable with that,” Zaldivar told CBS2’s Dave Carlin.
“We will provide a massive expansion of curbside seating, a big expansion of Open Streets,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.
The mayor said he expects this to happen the first week of July. New Yorkers will see tables and chairs six feet apart on sidewalks, in parking spaces and on some streets.
Restaurant rows are becoming candidates for the Open Streets program. Forty-five miles of streets are shut down so far and given over to pedestrians, and the goal is 100 miles.
For the restaurant Westville on Ninth Avenue, a narrow sidewalk out front allows only a handful of tables, but it’s a start.
“Having four or five tables would maybe afford us the right to bring some front of house staff back,” restaurant general manager Peter Staley said.
The mayor says the permitting process is being streamlined to allow for outdoor dining on sidewalks and streets. To make that happen, the City Council is working with the Department of Consumer Affairs and the Department of Transportation.
Not currently allowed in the Phase 2 plan for restaurants is the reopening of backyard seating areas like the one at Medi Wine Bar in Hell’s Kitchen.
“We need the business back,” owner Andrea Giacomoni said.
Owners look ahead, planning for later phases and building table dividers with plexiglass.
Servers and other employees will wear masks and gloves and get monitored and tested for the coronavirus.
Restaurants will ease back in with summer sidewalk snacking before any big indoor banquets.