New York City’s Nightlife Advisory Council has published a report proposing a limit on 4am curfews, as well as allowing for drinking in public parks.

Proposals put forward in the report are intended to help “businesses and residents to co-exist without conflict”, it says. Bars would be allowed to stay open until 4am in designated areas, while others would have to respect “family-friendly hours” if situated in residential areas.

The suggestions are part of plans to encourage safer partying and socialising in New York as COVID-19 cases begin to rise in the city once again, with fears that the Delta variant of the virus could place the city back in lockdown if not tackled hard enough. Outdoor drinking, it’s suggested, might encourage people to spend more time outdoors rather than in indoor venues where the virus can spread more easily.

“Think of if you’re in Central Park or another area and you open up a bottle of wine,” Chair of Nightlife Advisory Council Andrew Rigie, who made the proposal to legalise outdoor drinking in parks, said. “Technically, you’re not allowed to do that.

“We’re not just talking about taking every single public space and turning it into an outdoor party, of course not,” he continued. “It’s a little bit more refined than that.”

Some council members haven’t been so keen on the proposal, however. One such member is councilman Peter Koo, who chairs the committee of parks and reacreation, and said: “Doing dancing and drinking in the public, without strong regulation, I don’t think it’s a good idea.”

New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also expressed mixed feelings on the idea of legalising public drinking. “Dancing used to have cabaret laws that were arcane, I smile on dancing, I don’t smile on drinking in public places. I think there have to be some laws and public standards and I think right now is the right way to go.”

The report, which was published earlier this week, can be read in full here.

24-hour nightlife districts, similar to those found in Berlin and Amsterdam, were proposed for New York City earlier this month.

Last month, clubs in the city lifted the requirement for proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test to enter them, but many have since reversed this decision due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.