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Open Storefronts Program 2020

The Open Storefronts program assists existing ground-floor storefront businesses who want to use outdoor areas on a temporary basis. The program allows eligible businesses to conduct activity on sidewalks, on roadways in the Open Streets: Restaurants program, or a combination of both. In addition to businesses engaged in retail trade, repair stores, personal care services, and dry-cleaning and laundry services are able to use outdoor space for seating, queuing, or display of dry goods

Criteria for Sidewalks

  • Objects placed on sidewalk must be up against the wall of the business or as close as possible

  • Sidewalk objects and activities may not exceed business frontage

  • Must leave an 8' clear path for pedestrians. Eligible businesses who can currently display merchandise as-of-right or with a stoopline stand license can continue to do so under existing regulations and do not need to certify under Open Storefronts for the existing eligible merchandise

  • Must conduct eligible activities and place outdoor objects no more than 5’ from the property line (i.e. from external facing wall of the business)

  • Outdoor objects must be at least 3' from the adjacent restaurants, or 1’ away from other businesses participating in the Open Storefronts program

  • Outdoor objects and goods cannot block subway grates, fire hydrants, utility hardware, Siamese water connection, bus stop waiting areas, subway entrances, and fire exits. Vault entrances not exclusively accessible by the business can only be blocked in coordination with other tenants. Objects cannot block doors, including entry and exit doors to other spaces, and cannot block driveways or garage entrances unless they are used exclusively by the business participating in the Open Storefronts program

  • For clear path purposes, parking meters, traffic signs and tree pits with flush gratings (without tree guards) are exempt. All other above-grade structures are considered obstructions

  • Merchandise placed outside cannot exceed 5' in height above the level of the sidewalk

  • Collapsible tents and umbrellas with weighted base must have at least two (2) sides open and must be installed per manufacturer’s instructions. A single area or area of combined / tied together tents and umbrellas should not exceed 400 square feet in size

  • Tents and umbrellas should not be used during inclement weather such as high wind condition. Sign up for DOB’s Weather Advisory Subscription.

  • Outdoor objects and goods, including tents and umbrellas, must be provided by applicant and must be removed from the sidewalk when a business is closed, excluding stoopline stands (in line with current regulation). Permanent structures cannot be built or placed on the sidewalk

  • Hours of operation will be normal business hours

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