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Outdoor Dining Safety Requirements for Restaurants and Cafes

Most of our electric, gas, and steam distribution systems are underneath city streets and sidewalks. We access these systems through covers, such as manhole covers, ventilation grates, and valve covers.

For your safety and to maintain the reliability of our systems, we need to have clear access to these covers 24/7.

Proper ventilation is critical to the safe and reliable operation of our facilities. Do not cover or place anything on ventilation grates. Some solid, round covers may be warm to the touch. For the safety of your customers, do not place tables or chairs near these covers.

Outdoor Seating Guidelines

Please do not place any outdoor café objects on top of or over ventilated covers, and ensure all are movable.

These guidelines apply to objects of any kind, such as:

  • Tables
  • Seating
  • Enclosures
  • Ramps
  • Platforms
  • Planters
  • Barricades
  • Carpets
  • Surface coverings and treatments

How to Prepare for Unscheduled and Emergency Work

If we need to access our underground equipment, for any reason, we may need to disrupt restaurant operations. We may set up pedestrian and vehicular traffic protection beyond the footprint of our covers, so it’s important that all objects are moveable.

There are times when unscheduled and immediate access is required for emergency work. During emergency situations, the restaurant operator must clear the area immediately so our crews can work safely.

Cover Types and Safety Guidelines

Manhole Covers

Do not place anything on top of round manhole covers. Some solid, round covers may be warm to the touch. For your safety, do not place objects near these covers.

Rectangular Ventilation (Transformer) Grates

Keep all objects at least 3 feet clear from all sides of rectangular ventilation (transformer) grates.

Utility Valve Covers

Please maintain uncovered, clear access to valve covers.

Gas Vents

Gas vents on the exterior of buildings must always remain open to the atmosphere and must not be enclosed within temporary dining space.

The safe and reliable operation of our systems depend on your adherence to these requirements.

If you have an electric, gas, or steam emergency, please call 1-800-75CONED.

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