Today, the City of New York released requirements for restaurants and bars that want to use heating units in their outdoor dining setups on sidewalks, in the roadway, and in other areas such as backyards and parking lots.
The link below outlines the requirements for piped natural gas, electric and propane heating and the process to apply.
The NYC Hospitality Alliance advocated to ensure as many restaurants and bars as possible would be able to use different types of heating elements to keep their customers warm during the cooler and cold months.
Unfortunately, due to many significant safety considerations, storage of propane being the biggest one, the use of propane will be severely limited. As a result, propane heating units will be difficult for many restaurants to use but some will be able to avail themselves, subject to the requirements.
Piped natural gas will continue to be permitted and the city has streamlined the process as much as possible.
Electric heaters will be the most feasible for restaurants to use in all outdoor dining areas. However, we urge you to review the requirements and speak with an electrician as soon as possible to get the process moving and to understand any potential opportunities and limitations.
Here are a few highlights:
- Electric heaters will be allowed on the sidewalk and the roadway seating areas
- Propane heaters will not be allowed in the roadway seating areas but will be permitted, with limitations, on the sidewalks. (storage of propane overnight will be a major obstacle however)
- Hard wired natural gas will be allowed and the approval process is streamlined
Utilizing these outdoor heating options will be critically important for those restaurants and bars that are able to avail themselves. However, the NYC Hospitality Alliance recognizes that less than 50% of our city's eating & drinking establishments have been participating in outdoor dining since June and due to the safety and other limitations for outdoor heating, a much smaller percentage will be able to continue outdoor dining in the months to come. So, while this new outdoor heating guidance is very important, it will not save the restaurant industry. This is why we must be able to safely increase indoor occupancy to 50% ASAP, and we must continue to advocate for supportive polices such as the RESTAURANTS Act and more.