A New York City law, prohibiting businesses from keeping their doors and windows open while their air conditioning is on, is in effect. The city's Department of Consumer Affairs will now issue fines to businesses in violation of the law.
The Alliance was successful at ensuring that this law does not apply to doors and windows leading to a restaurant's sidewalk cafe. However after in-depth conversations with Mayor de Blasio's administration we are troubled by their overly aggressive interpretation of the law prohibiting restaurants with "French Door" style windows and other openings that lead to the street, from being open when the air conditioning is turned on, if they do not lead to a licensed sidewalk cafe.
We have spoken with the City Council member who sponsored this law and he even submitted a letter to the Department of Consumer Affairs stating that his intent of the law was not to prohibit such restaurant windows and doors from being open.
The city's incorrect and overreaching interpretation of this law is bad news for restaurants that have invested large amounts of money installing these doors/windows and those who use them to create a semi-al fresco style dining experience for their guests. It's also a black eye for NYC's dining scene and will be met with disappointment by those who love a nice breeze and open air to complement their dining experience.
This law was clearly intended to reduce energy usage by businesses when the opening of doors and windows is incidental to their business and NOT when it is an important aspect to the business' operations and customer experience.
If your restaurant is issued a violation for having a door and/or window open while the air conditioning is on, you may want to challenge the violation in court.
The Alliance will work to get the city to change their interpretation or amend the law. We'll keep you informed. Contact us with questions at info@theNYCalliance.org.