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Portable Outdoor Patio Heater Initiative is “Off to a Good Start”

Earlier this week, I posted that local restaurateurs were hopeful that they would soon be legally allowed to use portable propane heaters on their patios. It didn’t take long for the “hopefully” to become “reality,” as Mayor Brown and Councilman Joel Feroleto have announced that, Per New York State Fire Code, the portable heating units are now allowed, as long as business owners follow certain guidelines. For example, the areas in question (sidewalks, parking lots, and patios) must not be enclosed by walls. Additionally, the roofing above the units must not be combustable – no canvas awnings, for example. 

Mayor Brown stated, “We continue to offer whatever support we can to help our local small businesses as we continue to get through the COVID-19 pandemic together. We will maintain outdoor dining as a safe option for people as the temperatures become cooler. Enabling restaurants to utilize outdoor propane heaters will help ensure their survival. I encourage residents to continue to support small businesses, which are the lifeblood of our community.”

This new measure complements other efforts in the Small Business Social Distancing Initiative, including the Chippewa Open Streets program.

Delaware District Council Member Joel Feroleto stated, “The restaurant industry has been one of the hardest hit by COVID-19. We need to support our local restaurants now more than ever. Permitting outdoor heaters will give restaurants the ability to accommodate more guests and a better chance of surviving the pandemic.”

Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director of the Office of Strategic Planning stated, “During this time of tremendous economic strain for small businesses in Buffalo, the Brown Administration continues to work with the Common Council on new ways to assist our businesses survive this trying time. After a successful summer, this is the first of several announcements that will continue the Small Business Social Distancing Initiative into the winter and through spring.”

Businesses must contact the City of Buffalo Office of Fire Prevention at 716-851-5333 ext. 750 to obtain a permit to use the outdoor heaters.

All things considered, this new initiative is off to a good start, and will help business owners navigate the unfriendly COVID waters this fall and winter.

The City of Buffalo also offers additional resources to local small businesses through Reopen Buffalo, a one-stop destination which provides business owners with a variety of resources regarding: Business Health and Safely Guidelines, Bid Opportunities, Minority and Women-owned Business Services, New York Forward information and a guide on how to start a small business in the City of Buffalo. If a business is interested in being added to this resource, they can register through a link on the webpage or call 3-1-1.

Businesses must contact the City of Buffalo Office of Fire Prevention at 716-851-5333 ext. 750 to obtain a permit to use the outdoor heaters. All spare propane cylinders must be stored outdoors.

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

Contact Newell Nussbaumer |

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