Dec. 30, 2020 By Christian Murray
The mayor announced Tuesday that the city is extending a pilot program that allows storefront owners to sell goods on the sidewalk.
The initiative, dubbed the Open Storefronts program, was launched at the end of October and will now be in operation until Sept. 30, 2021. The program is modeled after the successful Open Restaurants program and allows business owners to sell and display their merchandise on a portion of the sidewalk.
The program requires participating businesses to keep an eight-foot clear path of sidewalk from the curb. Retailers cannot use the space of adjacent businesses.
The businesses must also bring all furniture and goods indoors when they are closed.
The initiative aims to help brick-and-mortar businesses, which have taken a hit due to COVID-19. The program was also established to increase public safety–by encouraging outdoor shopping and making social distancing easier.
“Open Storefronts has given business owners an easy way to maximize their space and keep customers safe as they shop,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We remain committed to giving small businesses more chances to thrive, and we’re excited to give them more opportunities to participate in this program throughout the winter and warmer months.”
The mayor has expanded the program, allowing businesses to sell pre-packaged food on sidewalks and to use sidewalks for take-out orders.
City officials hope that more businesses will take advantage of the program–particularly when the weather heats up. Since the program was launched, only a few hundred businesses out of the nearly 40,000 businesses that qualify have enrolled for the Open Storefronts program.