Hoboken Council: Pandemic-era outdoor dining structures can stay
It has been two years since Hoboken became the first city in New Jersey to shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The city marked the anniversary by announcing that outdoor dining areas born out of the pandemic will be made permanent features in the city.
Mayor Ravi Bhalla said that these so-called “street-eries” were so successful helping small business owners during the height of the pandemic.
Restaurant owner Mario Steriti says he remembers it well.
“I was extremely discouraged when COVID came down. I was thinking of getting out because I couldn’t believe what was happening.
Steriti owns 10th & Willow and 10th Street Pasta & Pizza in Hoboken. He says that he is encouraged that the Hoboken City Council voted to allow restaurants and bars to file for an annual application for an outdoor dining license.
“As I see it, it’s a win-win-win. It’s revenue for the city. Allows us to do better business. And my neighbors, they enjoy it,” Steriti says.
Other restaurant owners say that this will allow them more business – even during the colder months.
“Even in wintertime, we’d have three or four tables outside. In 30-degree weather people were still outside,” says Christopher Roberts, of East L.A.
Restaurants will have to pay permit fees and follow guidelines regarding hours, trash control, cleaning and set up.
But not everyone is thrilled with the idea of expanding on the outdoor dining areas. Opponents say that they are unhappy to lose street parking spots, and are worried about noise and pollution.
“It’s hard to park and I think it takes up too much space. I get it, but I think it’s unnecessary and too much,” says David Petrozeliia.
Restaurant owners who do not apply for a license or pay the fees are subject to a fine.