Small business owners will soon be able to expand their storefront onto the sidewalk as part of a new Open Storefronts initiative the City will launch on Friday.
Retail shops will be able to sell their wares on sidewalks in front of their storefronts from Oct. 30 through Dec. 31 — just in time for the holiday season, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday.
In addition to retailers, repair shops, personal care services and laundry services can also use sidewalk space for seating, queuing or displaying dry goods under the Open Storefronts program.
The initiative aims to help more than 40,000 small businesses in a similar way that the Open Restaurants program helped thousands of restaurants across the five boroughs.
“Our Open Restaurants program … turned out to be something that really worked for New Yorkers,” de Blasio said during a press briefing. “Let’s apply that same idea to small businesses — retail businesses — all over the five boroughs that need additional business to survive.”
The program is modeled after the Open Restaurants program. Likewise, businesses located on existing Open Streets: Restaurants — that are cut off to most traffic — will be able to sell their products on the closed streets as well.
Multiple businesses on the same block can also join together to apply for an Open Street designation to turn their roadway over from car usage to ad hoc market usage, de Blasio said.
While this will (incrementally) help small businesses as long as this pandemic continues, this will wind up being counterproductive. It will just make the sidewalks more clustered which will make it harder to enforce distancing guidelines and also will make it more vulnerable to shoplifters and looters, which will require more NYPD presence. Not to mention that a lot of sidewalks where these stores are located aren't ample enough for those measurements detailed on that layout above.