Tips for Reopening Retail and Restaurants

New York City Regulations

Residential and Commercial Garbage

Residential garbage may only be placed outside after 5:00 p.m. on the day before pickup.

Commercial establishments may only place refuse out for collection one hour before closing. If the merchant’s waste is collected during the day, refuse may not be placed outside unless it is within two hours of actual collection time. Avoid tickets—sanitation fines are from $50 to $250.

A new sanitation law goes into effect on January 1, 2019. The NYC Polystyrene Foam Packaging Law bans single-service foam items from possession, sale, or use in NYC. This includes foam takeout containers, cups and plates. This ban affects food establishments, stores and manufacturers of foam packaging within all five boroughs.


NO flashing, blinking, or moving signs are allowed outside of Times Square.

NO signs, such as ATM signs, may be hung from awnings or canopies.

NO advertising signs, including ATM signs, may be displayed for other than the resident business.

NO signs or posters are permitted on the walls of buildings in residential districts.

NO wall signs may project more than 12 inches.

NO perpendicular signs may project more than 18 inches.

NO ground signs may project beyond the building line.


ONLY a name and address are permitted with print limited to a 12-inch maximum letter height and 12-square-foot maximum area.

NO illumination of awning graphics.

NO awnings may be lower than eight feet above the sidewalk (except for a loose skirt, which can be no lower than seven feet.


Call 311 to report news boxes that are blocking cross walks or are abandoned or click here to file a complaint. If a news box is in front of your building, call the publisher responsible and request that it be removed. Such calls have been successful. Take a photograph of the newsbox to send to the publisher.


After receiving complaints about advertising fliers that were dropped on the steps of buildings and wound up blown around the neighborhood, creating a mess, CHN contacted the advertisers to let them know that their ads were turning into litter.

The distribution has ceased on the targeted block. Please contact CHN if these fliers appear on your block and let us know which stores are advertising. We will pursue the issue with the advertisers, the Department of Sanitation, and others.

Solid Security Gates

Solid gates are a magnet for graffiti, obscure visibility into a store and suggest an unsafe block to pedestrians. We encourage all store owners to install open gates. Solid security gates will not be allowed beginning in 2026.

Local Officials

Below are links to national, state and local officials’ offices:

United States Senate (NY)
Charles Schumer

Kirsten Gillibrand

United States House of Representatives
Carolyn Maloney (NY-12)

New York State Senate
Liz Krueger

New York State Assembly
Dan Quart

Rebecca Seawright

New York City Mayor
Bill de Blasio

New York City Council
Keith Powers (district 4)

Ben Kallos (district 5)

Manhattan Community Board 8