Mayor-elect Eric Adams and a contender to lead the City Council next year demanded that Mayor Bill de Blasio reverse his decision to ban propane heaters for outdoor dining setups.
Restaurants across the five boroughs bought the devices last winter to keep patrons warm while eating outdoors during the COVID-19 pandemic-induced surge in al fresco eating.
Adams, the Brooklyn borough president and in six weeks mayor of New York, and Councilman Keith Powers (D-Manhattan) called on de Blasio to “reconsider” his prohibition of the devices, which were allowed on sidewalks during winter 2020.
“The pandemic continues to affect the daily lives of New Yorkers and the many small businesses that serve them. Many diners still prefer the safety of outdoor dining and restaurants are still struggling financially to recover,” reads the letter, sent Tuesday.
It notes the FDNY has said propane heaters did not start any fires last winter.
“For these reasons, we ask you to reconsider your decision to reinstate the ban on propane heaters for another year,” the duo wrote. “We need all tools available as we continue to fight back from the economic hardships created by COVID-19.”
The plea comes after de Blasio decided last month that he was putting an end to the temporary allowance of propane heaters out of deference to the fire department’s safety concerns.
“I really listened to the Fire Department. They’re the experts on health and safety when it comes to propane, they believed even though we … had a good experience last winter,” he said during an Oct. 21 virtual press conference. “The Fire Department feels strongly, and I agree with them, [that] propane needs to be phased out. So, we’re giving the restaurants the next month to do that.”
He added, “It’s about safety and it’s about sustainability.”
Powers — Council speaker contender who represents a swath of Manhattan’s East Side on the body — labeled the ban “confusing.”
“A lot of restaurants are suffering, and relying on outdoor dining to be a saving grace,” he told The Post. “The mayor’s decision to pay restaurants to buy new sources of heat when they already have propane heaters is a confusing decision.”