FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM OCTOBER 22, 2020 • THE QUEENS COURIER 3
City Council passes permanent oudoor dining plan
COVID-19 rapid testing site opens at Kew Gardens Hills library
BY CARLOTTA MOHAMED
A new testing site opened in Kew
Gardens Hills on Th ursday, Oct. 15, as
the city attempts to mitigate the spread
of COVID-19 clusters in neighborhoods
with a high positivity rate.
Queens Public Library and NYC Health
+ Hospitals leadership have opened the
doors to a temporarily converted, rapid
COVID-19 testing site at the Kew Gardens
Hills branch at 72-33 Vleigh Pl. that is
within the state-mandated red zone.
Th e testing site will provide a point of
care, rapid testing and outreach resources
to ensure Queens residents can safely
separate and receive immediate assistance
through supportive services.Patients will
receive free testing every day, from 9 a.m.
to 7 p.m., until Sunday, Nov.1.
Th e branch, which had previously been
among the 22 QPL libraries open for
to-go service, closed to the public on Oct.
5 in response to heightened concerns
about the spread of COVID-19 in central
Queens. Library branches in Rego
Park and Forest Hills also closed earlier
this month. Th e three locations had previously
reopened for pickups of reading
BY ROBERT POZARYCKI
Outdoor dining will become a permanent
fi xture on the streets of New York,
the City Council declared Th ursday, Oct.
Th e city’s legislators approved a bill
(Intro. 2127-A) that continues the program
launched in June to boost business
at eateries across the fi ve boroughs amid
the COVID-19 pandemic. Th e initiative
will be extended through September
of next year, and then replaced by a
permanent outdoor dining plan to come.
Th e legislation also clears the way for
restaurants to use portable heaters in outdoor
dining spaces so restaurants may
continue to serve guests during colder
weather in the fall and winter.
Brooklyn/Queens Councilman Antonio
Reynoso introduced the legislation back
in September; 10 other lawmakers cosponsored
the bill. He called its passage
“a huge win for the restaurant industry
and its workers, diners and the morale of
“New York City’s outdoor dining program
has been a remarkable success,”
Reynoso said. “Now, by making outdoor
dining permanent and allowing for the
use of outdoor heating lamps, my bill will
allow for continuation of the program
into the colder months.”
Th e bill now awaits Mayor Bill de
Th e Queens Chamber of Commerce
applauded the passage of the bill on
“Restaurants are the backbone of New
York City’s economy, and the economies
of neighborhoods throughout the fi ve
boroughs, but the past several months
have been devastating to the industry,”
said Th omas Grech, CEO of the Queens
Chamber of Commerce. “Outdoor dining
has not just been a hit with restaurantgoers,
it has allowed our cherished neighborhood
establishments to keep New
Yorkers employed and bring in some desperately
needed revenue. We are delighted
that the program has been made permanent.
We are also pleased to see the
Council taking proactive steps to ensure
that the program can continue as we
approach the colder months by allowing
use of electric and propane heaters.”
Th e arrival of COVID-19 in New York
forced restaurants to close their doors to
patrons back in March due to capacity
restrictions. Th ough many dining spots
shuttered, others continued on into the
spring serving customers through delivery
or takeout service.
In the spring, the City Council and de
Blasio approved a program allowing restaurants
to set up curbside café seating
outside their establishments in the street.
Th is enabled restaurants to once again
serve patrons once New York City entered
phase two of its reopening on June 22.
While outdoor dining proved quite
popular across the city in bringing diners
back to their favorite eateries, the entire
industry continues to struggle amid the
pandemic. Th e New York City Hospitality
Alliance previously reported that far too
many restaurateurs are well behind on
their rent, and only able to make partial
payments to their landlords.
Andrew Rigie, the alliance’s executive
director, applauded the City Council for
passing the permanent outdoor dining
bill, but repeated calls for federal relief for
New York’s struggling dining sector.
“Outdoor dining has been monumental
to reviving thousands of struggling
restaurants able to avail themselves of
the program, protecting jobs and returning
a sense of vibrancy to our neighborhoods,”
Rigie said. “Although outdoor
dining has been overwhelmingly successful,
the city’s restaurant industry is still
on life support and its survival depends
on safely expanding indoor dining occupancy
to 50 percent soon, and the federal
government immediately passing Th e
The RESTAURANTS Act, introduced
earlier this month in the House
of Representatives, would steer $120 billion
in fi nancial aid to struggling eateries
Th is story originally appeared on amny.
Courtesy of QPL
HURRY UP AND VOTE!
VOTE FOR YOUR FAVORITE PIZZA PARLORS, PLASTIC SURGEONS, PET GROOMERS & MUCH MORE
THROUGH NOVEMBER 2ND AT BESTOF.QNS.COM
To see winners and keep up to date with the competition, follow us @bestoftheboro