Baraka signs executive order allowing businesses to expand outdoors

NEWARK, NJ — Mayor Ras Baraka announced June 18 that he has signed an executive order that will expand the ability of retail businesses and restaurants to use sidewalks, parking lots and other public spaces to sell goods and provide outdoor dining for take-away food and beverage consumption.

Executive Order No. 20-0007, which became effective on June 15, is part of the city’s comprehensive business recovery plan to reshape the use of streets and sidewalks in order to expand outdoor capacity for small businesses, while maintaining public health and safety during the COVID-19 crisis.

“Small businesses are the core and strength of Newark’s economy. As we reopen our city and begin to recover from the effects of COVID-19, it is imperative that we restore their ability to do business, while maintaining the safety of visitors and workers alike,” Baraka said. “This order will enable businesses to serve their customers safely, while regaining prosperity for themselves and the entire city of Newark.”

The executive order has three major features: “streatery,” parklets and expanded retail use of sidewalks.

Under “streatery,” food establishments are permitted to temporarily convert curbside parking space into an area specifically intended for outdoor dining where take-away food and beverages may be consumed. For parklets, all businesses or organizations are permitted to temporarily convert curbside parking space into a mini-park built as an extension of the sidewalk to create more public space and enhance the pedestrian realm.

Executive Order No. 20-0007 temporarily waives the application fees for the above business expansion programs. Furthermore, Executive Order No. 20-0006 waives the fees for the city’s existing Sidewalk Cafe program.