ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Albany Common Council passed legislation to make the expansion of outdoor dining opportunities, created during the pandemic, permanent.

“Why should we go back to the way things were,” said Albany Common Council Member Owusu Anane, “when, out of a crisis, we were able to offer an opportunity for the restaurants?”

Anane explained his law codifies a temporary measure by Mayor Kathy Sheehan that allowed businesses to expand their outdoor cafes further into the sidewalk. Anane said restaurants will have to come up with a plan that’s ADA compliant, and apply for a permit.

“We’re definitely going to make sure that people with disabilities, and our seniors, they have a walking path to get from point A to point B,” he explained.

Dominick Purnomo, an Albany restaurant owner and Director of the NYS Restaurant Association said this provides an opportunity not only for restaurants to flourish, but to help mitigate the spread of COVID.

“Albany County came out and said they’re advising people to wear masks indoors. It’s certainly not mandated yet, but we don’t know what the future holds, so this gives restaurants the opportunity to extend their dining rooms outdoors. Obviously, with the better weather coming, this couldn’t come at a better time,” Purnomo said.