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City Council Passes Air Conditioning Law Reform

Open Storefront

By New York City Hospitality Alliance

June 23, 2017

The NYC Hospitality Alliance is happy to announce that the City Council passed legislation to amend the law prohibiting retail businesses from keeping their doors and windows open when the air conditioning is turned on.

The legislation clarifies that the law does not apply to restaurants. As you may recall, we testified at a recent hearing that the law was never intended to prohibit restaurants from keeping their french doors and windows open. These features were built to provide a semi-al fresco dining experience for guests, which results in much needed revenue for the business and has created new good paying jobs. The open air features are part and parcel for many restaurants and are not an incidental feature as they are to other big box stores that may blow cool air onto the streets to attract customers inside on hot summer days, which the law rightfully sought to prohibit for environmental reasons.

Now that the City Council has passed this regulatory reform, the legislation has been sent to Mayor de Blasio. The mayor has the option of signing the legislation into law, vetoing it, or, if the mayor does not take either action it will automatically become law in 30 days.  We urge the mayor to support this bill that is not only supported by the NYC Hospitality Alliance and the City Council, but a highly respected environmental organization too.

The NYC Hospitality Alliance takes issues related to climate change very seriously, so if this legislation becomes law, we urge restaurants that take advantage of this exception to the closed doors and windows law, to use their air conditioning responsibly during the summer months by not blasting frigid air onto the sidewalks.

Please note this reform exempting restaurants from the current law has not yet taken effect.  We will let you know what action the mayor takes.