‘Illegal encroachment’: Group sues to end New York’s pandemic-era outdoor dining program – NBC New York

There’s a new effort to curb New York’s outdoor dining program designed to help struggling restaurants and provide diners with a safer environment to eat during the pandemic.

A lawsuit filed in the state’s Supreme Court seeks to dissolve emergency orders that continued to allow restaurants to serve diners outdoors.

The petitioners argue that state and city efforts to expand the emergency program are arbitrary because most other safety measures spurred by the health crisis have been reduced or dissolved entirely.

“As of July 2022, respondent CEOs had abandoned vaccination and mask mandates, indoor dining occupancy limitations and social distancing requirements and recognized that no public health emergency now exists” , indicates the text of the lawsuit.

The lawsuit details pandemic programs designed to help New Yorkers who have since been left behind, including unemployment assistance, some vaccine and mask mandates, the eviction moratorium, as well as the testing and testing program. of city tracing.

The city has a message for restaurateurs: use your outdoor dining structures or lose them. reports Erica Byfield.

Allowing open-air dining structures to continue, the group says, is detrimental to the city. They point to “increased and excessive noise, traffic congestion, uncontrolled garbage and rodent populations, blocking of sidewalks and roads” among the many ways the program is an “illegal encroachment” on city residents.

The Daily News, first to report the lawsuit, spoke with a Manhattan store owner who felt outdoor structures needed better regulation or the city should kill the program.

“Either withdrawal or reform or some kind of standards,” David Owens, 78, told the outlet. “If they took them off, I wouldn’t miss them.”

Mayor Eric Adams defended the program on Monday, calling himself a proponent of outdoor dining while acknowledging some ways to improve it.

“I think we need to modify it because some of the outdoor eating places have become a hazard. They have become unsuitable places. And I think there is a way to modify to normalize what the structure should be like. look like, and they should be used,” Adams said.

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