Governor Murphy Signs Legislation Extending Permissions for Outdoor Dining to Support Restaurant Industry
Outdoor dining will continue in New Jersey; Governor Murphy signed a bill on August 3 (S-2364) extending the pandemic-era permissions for restaurant restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to serve customers outdoors “in private areas, on sidewalks, and in other municipally-designated outdoor areas.”
The permissions on outdoor dining, set to expire on November 30, 2022, will now extend an additional two years.
Outdoor dining during the pandemic kept local restaurants, bars, and breweries – and the customers – alive.
Many business owners have continued to offer outdoor dining since beginning to offer outdoor seating during the summer of 2020.
Today’s legislation will authorize the continued use of fixtures such as tents, canopies, umbrellas, tables, and chairs for outdoor dining until November 30, 2024, extending a law that was signed by the Governor in February of 2021.
The Governor signed the bill at Vesta Wood-Fired, a local restaurant that received a grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority as part of the state’s small business emergency assistance program to support New Jersey businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What are they saying?
“The pandemic hit our state hard. To keep our communities safe and our economy running, our Democratic Congress passed the American Rescue Plan to deliver needed relief. That plan provided over $10 billion for New Jersey which helped establishments like Vesta Wood-Fired in East Rutherford stay afloat,” said U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr.
“Extending the ability of restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to continue to serve additional patrons at their outside facilities will not only financially benefit these businesses, but will also help grow the economy as new positions are created to meet additional demand,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan.
“Outdoor dining was a vital lifeline for restaurants and bars that experienced severe financial hardship during the pandemic,” said Senator Paul Sarlo. “It allows local businesses to stay afloat, to keep their employees on the payroll, and to generate economic activity that brings life to communities throughout the state. Their hard times are not over, as they continue to face challenges during difficult times. We can now extend a practice that has proven to be successful for business owners and employees and very popular with patrons.”
“Outdoor dining was a real success during challenging times,” said Senator Gordon Johnson. “It offered safe dining conditions for people who were anxious to get back to their favorite restaurants and bars as we emerged from the coronavirus shutdown. There are still variants around and local businesses haven’t regained all their lost business – so this is a success story that should continue.”
“Even with indoor dining back, residents still enjoy dining al fresco. Our businesses are on the road to recovery,” said Assembly members Roy Freiman, Gabriela Mosquera, and Chris Tully. “Every resource must be available to them while they get back on track. It worked well during the peak of the pandemic and now, many have found this to be an expanded opportunity for restauranteurs and certain businesses. It’s good for small business.”
“Serving patrons outdoors allowed us to increase capacity up to 30% more, reduce waiting times, offer a different atmosphere, help reduce transmission of COVID-19, and help us recuperate losses due to the pandemic. Extending these permissions will help us get back on our feet after this arduous battle,” said Luis de la Hoz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey.