Health Dept. finalizes rules for dining with dogs

The New York City Department of Health on Tuesday laid out its final plans that would allow New Yorkers to bring their dogs when they eat out.

Under the “dining with dogs” law, patrons can only bring their four-legged friends to specialized outdoor sections of eateries that participate in the program. The Health Department removed a previous regulation that would have required restaurant workers to ask pet owners for their vaccination and license papers, but the eatery must post a sign that reminds customers that their dogs need the proper city clearances.

“These new rules ensure that restaurant patrons can bring their dogs to outdoor areas, while also keeping other diners protected,” Health Commissioner Dr. Mary Bassett said in a statement.

The restaurants will also have to create barriers that “limit contact between dogs in the outdoor dining area and dogs and people on an adjacent sidewalk,” according to the Health Department. State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, who created the state law, had earlier criticized the proposed regulations when the Health Department mulled requiring restaurant workers to check customers’ paperwork.

She said the final regulations were a step in the right direction for all pet owners.

“I’m so pleased that the city Department of Health threw dog lovers a bone,” Rosenthal said in a statement.