Is outside seating at restaurants allowed right now?

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y (WSYR-TV) — Essential New York restaurant attempted to have outdoor seating this week and was told at the time by the Onondaga County Health Department that was not allowed.

That has changed.

Joey’s Italian Restaurant put out five tables with 10 seats on Tuesday, thinking it would be a good change of pace for people who want to have the restaurant feel without actually dining in.

General Manager Rick DeCuffa says he got the idea when two people came in and ordered food, got it to go, and then sat in chairs in his parking lot to eat.

“We are just trying to put some kind of normalcy in people’s lives,” DeCuffa said.

After being told by the health department originally that the idea wasn’t allowed, Onondaga County has now given guidance to restaurants as to how to do it. Outside seating is allowed but people sitting there cannot be served by the restaurant, they must order ahead of time and pick their food up to go.

Also, social distancing rules must be enforced and there cannot be a gathering of more than 10 people.

Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon says other restaurants can do the same if they follow state and county guidelines.

“There is no difference between someone walking outside of a restaurant and sitting at a table then there would be someone with an ice cream cone an ice cream store,” McMahon said Wednesday.

So, at Joey’s there are five tables each with a bottle of sanitizer on them for people to use.

“I think everybody is so sick of being home and as a restaurant we are just trying to survive this. I mean, this is absolutely devastating to us. So giving people that half an hour of just being able to sit at a table at a restaurant – – even though it’s outdoors I think is wonderful,” DeCuffa said.

Other businesses have already started setting up for limited outside seating.


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