Using Propane Heaters for Outdoor DiningLast fall, an Emergency Order allowed propane heaters to be used by restaurants and bars participating in the Open Restaurants Program to keep their guests warm while dining outdoors. Pursuant to the order, FDNY allowed the use propane heaters for outdoor dining as an emergency measure when indoor dining was completely unavailable or very limited because of the Covid Pandemic. Fast forward to this fall, things have changed.

The Emergency Order allowing propane heaters expired May 31st 2021, last week the City announced that the Order will not be extended.

5 things you should know:

  1. NYC restaurants will NOT be allowed to use propane heaters for outdoor dining going forward.
  2. Mayor Bill de Blasio cited “fire safety”, as the reason behind the decision. Although no fires have been reported at any restaurants as a result of propane heaters.
  3. Restaurants can continue using electric and natural gas heaters outdoors.
  4. FDNY will hold off on propane removal & fines until the new year.

According to Crain’s, the Department of Small Business Services will offer grants up to $5,000 to help switch to gas or electric for participating Open Restaurants with revenue of $1M or less.