New Yorkers Will Soon Be Able To Dine With Their Dogs At Restaurants With Outdoor Areas

It’s one thing to have your furry best friend underneath the table at home waiting for scraps to inevitably fall, but once you try to take a dog to a restaurant at meal time, it’s not always acceptable or even legal to have your pet accompany you as your dinner date. In New York, however, canines will soon be welcome with their owners at restaurants with outside space.

The state Senate passed legislation that amends the state health law to allow diners to have their pet pups with them in outdoor dining areas, reports The Journal News, and it’s now heading to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for review.

The “Dining with Dogs” bill doesn’t mean that anyone can bring a dog to any restaurant that happens to have a patio. Rather, it would allow customers to have their canine buds on the leash with them at any restaurant that wants to provide the service, as long as that establishment can ensure that the dogs won’t contaminate food, utensils or equipment. Any restaurant can choose to ban dogs as well.

Many restaurants already allow dogs, making them popular spots especially on sunny summer weekends when relaxing on the deck with your human is a dog’s favorite activity.

“We have no issues, we’re dog-friendly here,” says one such restaurant owner. “Generally, the rules for dogs are the same for people or kids: If any of those living creatures are being uncooperative or difficult, we speak to them.”

Restaurant employees going in for a pat on a particularly cute pooch would be prohibited from doing so under the new law, however, as staffers won’t be allowed to have direct contact with dogs while on duty. Restaurants that want to allow pets will also have to have a separate outdoor entrance, so as not to parade dogs through the main space to get outside.

California just passed a similar measure, joining states like Florida that also allow dogs at restaurants under state health law. It’s up to each state to draft its own state health code, though many simply abide by the Food and Drug Administration’s rule banning pets from retail establishments where food is served.

Dining out with your dog just got easier [The Journal News]