Thu. Jul 29th, 2021

ALBANY – Let them eat — on the sidewalks.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday codified an executive order during the COVID-19 pandemic into state law that allows restaurants to continue to use municipal spaces like sidewalks and streets for outdoor dining.

The measure, which passed the state Legislature last month, allows restaurants to use the public spaces for another year as they recover from the economic downturn caused by the pandemic as outdoor dining has become an increasingly popular option.

Initially, the pandemic had limited restaurants to take-out only, then slowly allowed outdoor and indoor dining to resume. Now eateries can open at full capacity for vaccinated patrons, but still have to keep social distancing for unvaccinated ones.

“As we build New York back better than it was before, it’s important that we learn from the past and capitalize on those efforts that helped so many of New York’s small businesses survive amid the global pandemic,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“By extending the much-needed lifeline that allowed restaurants to use outdoor public spaces for seating during the pandemic, New York is ensuring that these small businesses will be able to continue to use these spaces as they work to rebuild and support the revitalization of the Empire State.”

Joe Turco, Daniel Berletic, Andrew Jorge and Eva Mulcahy enjoy their meal at an outdoor table in front of La La Taqueria on Larchmont Avenue in Larchmont, July 16, 2020.

The governor’s executive order was first issued in June 2020 to let restaurants and bars serve customers with food or beverages on-premises in outdoor space while their indoor capacity was limited.

That included allowing them to expand onto sidewalks or closed streets, subject to approval by the local governments and the state Liquor Authority.

Keeping the measure in place was sought by bars and restaurants, particularly in New York City and other cities, where outdoor dining on sidewalks is more commonplace.