Woof! Governor Cuomo has signed a bill allowing companion dogs in outdoor dining areas.

October 27, 2015 by Mark H. Anbinder

Bring the dog to lunch! New York State now allows companion dogs to join their people in outdoor dining areas at restaurants under certain conditions.

Bring the dog to lunch!Bring the dog to lunch!As one of a number of bills signed without fanfare by Governor Andrew Cuomo yesterday, NYS Assembly Bill S04327A amends public health law to say that companion dogs under the control of a person may be permitted in outdoor seating areas at eateries if the owner elects to allow them, if separate outdoor access to the dining area is available so dogs can enter without going through the indoor eatery, and the outdoor dining area isn't used for food or drink preparation or storage of eating utensils. The eatery owner can designate just a portion of the outdoor dining area to allow dogs.

Companion dogs won't be allowed on chairs, benches, seats, or other fixtures in the outdoor dining area, and must be kept on a leash or confined in a pet carrier. The state law requires eateries to provide "reasonable signage" indicating that companion dogs are allowed in the outdoor seating area or a portion of it.

Sorry, wait staff! You are not allowed to pet the dogs. Servers who "accidentally" slip up on that must wash their hands before returning to work. Any food or water provided to dogs must be in disposable single-use containers, and of course, if the dog relieves itself, the soiled area must be cleaned up and sanitized.

Some restaurants have allowed dogs on patios or at sidewalk seating in the past, though it's technically been against state law, until now.

Do check with your favorite eatery before bringing your dog along. It's still up to the restaurant. The law has gone into effect immediately. Naturally, the law doesn't affect the rights of customers with guide dogs, hearing dogs, or other service animals.

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