More than 20 Open Streets in New York City will feature outdoor dining on weekends throughout this summer, as the resumption of indoor dining has been postponed, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Thursday.
"We made a decision that we could not go ahead with indoor dining, given everything that we're seeing around the country," said de Blasio at his press briefing. "So, starting this weekend, 22 Open Streets will also have Open Restaurants on them."
"It's going to be amazing because it's going to key into some of the places in our city where we have extraordinary restaurants, concentrated in one place. People love to go there at any time, but now imagine being able to enjoy it all alfresco," he added.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, the city has developed over 67 miles (around 107 km) of Open Streets, namely streets closed to cars, for people to walk around, ride a bike or exercise with social distancing. The mayor has said his goal was to open 100 miles (160 km) of streets.
De Blasio said that 2.62 miles of the city's Open Streets will be part of the outdoor dining initiative, with more coming in the future. This will take place every Friday night and weekend this summer.
"We're very excited. It is going to open up a world of possibilities and get a lot of people back to their jobs. We want to help working people," said the mayor.
Indoor dining, which was supposed to resume on Monday as New York City enters phase three of reopening, was postponed indefinitely as several U.S. states have seen soaring new COVID-19 cases related to restaurants and bars, the mayor announced on Wednesday.
The mayor also said on Thursday that the city's public schools will be open in the fall with safety precautions.
"We're full steam ahead for September. The goal, of course, to have the maximum number of kids in our schools as we begin schools.
A City Department of Education survey released on Thursday found that 75 percent of NYC parents want their children to return to school in September.
The mayor said schools will have deep cleaning daily, face-coverings and social distancing will be mandated, and handwashing stations and hand sanitizer will be seen all over the school buildings.
"We're going to make it work to the maximum in each school and we're going to work with the scheduling realities to find a way," he said.