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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — More than a dozen additional streets across New York City are now closed to traffic to help with outdoor dining.

Fifteen new streets have been added to the list of locations that are blocked off specifically to allow for more outdoor seating, CBS2’s Cory James reports.

RELATED STORY: New York City Expands Open Streets Program To Give Restaurants More Room For Outdoor Dining

The area at Spring and Thompson streets in SoHo is now one of the city’s 62 designated spots.

People were out Saturday enjoying its opening weekend.

Fifteen new streets were added in August 2020 to New York City’s list of locations that are blocked off specifically to allow for more outdoor seating. (Credit: CBS2)

There are countless road barriers up, stopping cars from traveling down streets where tables and chairs are placed out for folks wanting to eat outdoors.

It’s all part of the city’s Open Streets, Open Restaurants program, which is closing off about 100 miles of streets across all five boroughs.

So far, the program is helping over 9,500 restaurants operate during the pandemic.

  • Click here for a list of all Open Streets, Open Restaurants locations.

Customers and business owners are happy the decision was made to create more public space.

“We were quarantined for such a long time, so it just gives us an opportunity to get outside, get some fresh air and know that there is a space that we can go to,” Brooklyn resident Natalie Davis said.

“I believe it does give the customer more sense of security by having no traffic, absolutely, so that might encourage them to come and sit down,” said Roy Ibrahim, owner of Bistro Les Amis.

RELATED STORY: City Expanding Open Streets Program To Include ‘Play Streets’ In All 5 Boroughs

Amsterdam Avenue from West 97th Street to West 110th Street in Manhattan is one of the biggest stretches that was supposed to be blocked off Saturday, but it was not.

It will reportedly be shut down for outdoor dining next weekend.

The streets are closed Saturdays and Sundays from noon to 11 p.m., and on Friday nights from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Right now, the city has the program scheduled to end on Oct. 31.

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Tags: local tv new york open streets outdoor dining reopening soho outdoor dining soho open streets open streets

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Russia Will Allow Philippines Duterte to Take Coronavirus Vaccine in May 2021

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will be eligible to receive Russia’s new coronavirus vaccine on May 1, 2021, his spokesman said Thursday.

Duterte on Monday volunteered to be the first person to receive the Chinese coronavirus vaccine allegedly registered by Russia this week. However, at 75 years old, the president’s age disqualifies him from taking the vaccine, as it is so far only approved for people between the ages of 18 and 60. Although it has yet to clear local clinical trials, the Kremlin claims the vaccine — developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute — is safe for civilian use.

Duterte on Monday announced that Filipino volunteers will participate in the vaccine’s clinical trials. Once the third and final phase of clinical trials is completed next fall, Duterte may receive the vaccine, Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said on Thursday, according to Coconuts Manila.

“Starting October to March next year, we will conduct the clinical trial Phase 3. [This will be done] simultaneously in Russia and the Philippines,” Roque said at a press briefing.

The vaccine will be eligible for approval by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) one month after completing the trials, Roque said. Then, if approved by the Philippine FDA, the vaccine must also be cleared by Duterte’s Presidential Security Group (PSG) before he will be allowed to test it.

“May 1 is [the date] when the PSG may allow him [to be immunized] after [the vaccine] completes the necessary tests,” Roque said.

The vaccine, dubbed Sputnik V, must first be evaluated by an expert panel review in September 2021 before the experimental drug can be administered to some 300 to 3,000 volunteers, he added.

Dr. Jaime Montoya, executive director of the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, told the Philippines’ ABS-CBN News that the agency hopes to have at least 1,000 Filipinos volunteer for the clinical trials if the vaccine is approved.

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