With the first winter of outdoor dining rapidly approaching, new rules have been released by DOT for all participants in Open Restaurants. You must be in compliance by Decembert 15th, 2020.

What we know right now is that during snow events you may be required to cease outdoor dining operations and during extreme snowfall you might be required to partially disassemble your structure. Details for this have not been released yet, but we will share them as soon as available. 

The following changes are the most important new rules all roadbed dining setups must follow. For a summary of the new guidance, click here. For the full list of Open Restaurants rules, click here.

  • All 18” roadway barriers must be completely filled with soil or sand
  • Barriers must have a fully built interior wall and bottom to hold filler material
  • Continuous reflector tape must be added along the top outside edges, and snow sticks must be added to the corners of the two barriers facing traffic

Given the possibility of snow-induced damage, or any potential accidents like a collision from a snow plow for example, we’re also urging you to speak with your insurer and confirm that your roadbed seating is covered in your plan.

Snowplows will present an issue as well this season. When plowing, snow shoots out to the right of a plow, so if you are on the right side of a one-way street (facing the direction of traffic flow) or on a two-way street, you need to be ready for this possibility. 

During a snow alert from DSNY, you’ll be required to remove everything from your outdoor dining setup, including heaters, chairs, etc. In the event of 12″ or more of snow you may be asked to consolidate your setup or remove it entirely.

Again, this guidance should be made available soon, but we want to encourage our restaurants to begin thinking about snow and winter operations now.