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Will Outdoor Dining Become Permanent In New York City? Lawmakers Set To Address The Issue

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The city on Tuesday will consider making outdoor dining permanent.

Those structures have been a lifeline for restaurants during the pandemic and now the process begins to make them stay, CBS2's Dick Brennan reported Monday.

At 53rd Street and Ninth Avenue on the West Side, every corner is covered by an outdoor dining shed and restauranteurs say it's what's kept them afloat.

"I really hope we can keep it because it helps business It helps us and it helps New Yorkers," said Daniello Cannillo of Norma.

Cannillo said the sheds have given his place nearly twice the seating capacity.

"It's about 60 seats which is a lot. It's like having a double restaurant, honestly," Cannillo said.

READ MORENYC Takes Steps To Make Outdoor Dining Permanent Fixture On Streets And Sidewalks

A few blocks north at Route 66, the refrain is the same.

When asked what it would be like for his eatery without the outdoor dining, "We would be done. I wouldn't be here right now talking to you guys," owner Richard Katehis said.

The City Council will take up the future of outdoor dining to establish rules and create permit procedures. The city claims the program saved 100,000 jobs.

"We're gonna go and hear from the different agencies on how do we make this program permanent," Councilmember Marjorie Velazquez said.

But not without resistance.

"Overall, I think it's time has come and gone," said Isaac Komen of Greenwich Village.

READ MOREManhattan, Brooklyn Residents Sue City To Stop Permanent Outdoor Dining

Some residents say the sheds are eyesores, that they take away parking, and the garbage attracts rats. They fear it could only get worse.

"In New York City, there are 12,000 sheds currently out there and there are 27,000 restaurants in New York City, so if they make this permanent there will be 27,000 sheds," said Leif Arntzen of Greenwich Village.

Leif and Kathy Arntzen run their neighborhood block association and say the streets of Greenwich Village are being crowded out.

"Quality of life is what it's all about, but the City Council has to slow this down. It can't be fast-tracked," Kathy Arntzen said.

READ MOREWest Village Residents Sound Off On NYC's Stance To Keep Outdoor Dining, Say Structures Bring Excessive Noise, Trash And Rats

The challenge for the council is to find a balance to satisfy both sides.

"When it works, it works. When it doesn't work, it doesn't work, 50-50," said Duane Watson of East Elmhurst.

So how long before the City Council will vote on a proposal? Members say they hope sooner rather than later.

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