Propane Education and Research Council Defends Safety Record for Outdoor Propane Heaters, Stands Ready to Keep New York City Restaurants Open

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Propane Industry looks forward to working with incoming New York City Mayor Mayor Eric Adams on reinstating the use of propane for outdoor dining.

Propane restaurant heater

“We have not been presented with any evidence of safety or health issues associated with using propane heaters in New York or elsewhere. We would welcome a conversation with city officials to address this concern.”

As thousands of travelers descend on New York City for the holiday season, the propane industry looks forward to working with incoming Mayor Eric Adams on reinstating the use of propane for outdoor dining. Propane heaters have made year-round outdoor dining possible for restaurants across the country since the beginning of the pandemic, and for many, it was the difference between surviving and going out of business.

In a letter to the U.S. Conference of Mayors last month, the National Restaurant Association contended that “outdoor dining continues to serve as a lifeline for restaurants.”

James Mallios, owner of Amali, a Manhattan restaurant, told the New York Daily News that propane kept his restaurant afloat. “Without exaggeration, if we did not have propane heaters last season, we would be out of business,” he said.

In New York City, using propane requires an executive order that has not yet been renewed due to unfounded safety concerns. No fire-related incidents involving propane outdoor heaters were reported by the fire department in New York through the winter of 2020, and many of the city’s 19,000 restaurants were able to stay open during the winter months thanks to their outdoor propane heaters.

“The safety of our customers is always our number one priority,” said Tucker Perkins, president and CEO of the Propane Education and Research Council. “We have not been presented with any evidence of safety or health issues associated with using propane heaters in New York or elsewhere. We would welcome a conversation with city officials to address this concern.”

Propane is well-positioned to keep restaurants and customers warm and safe now that cold weather has returned, and it doesn’t require costly infrastructure upgrades that small businesses can’t afford. Installing outdoor heaters that run on electricity and natural gas often require system upgrades, permits and inspections, and interruption of business operations — a heavy burden on restaurants.

Propane outdoor heaters are not only self-contained, portable units, but they are also powered by a safe and clean fuel that loses almost no energy as it travels from tank to application.

Resiliency is a hallmark of New York City businesses and residents, and propane is tailor-made for a city that continues to overcome challenges. Unlike electricity and natural gas, propane isn’t dependent on the electric grid or a pipeline. It keeps restaurants, other businesses and homes running even when the lights go out and natural gas is interrupted, as was the case with Superstorm Sandy.

Learn more about propane and propane outdoor heaters at propane.com/safety/patio-heater-safety.

About PERC: The Propane Education & Research Council is a nonprofit that provides leading propane safety and training programs and invests in research and development of new propane-powered technologies. PERC is operated and funded by the propane industry. For more information, visit Propane.com.

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