Gov. Phil Murphy today signed a bill (S-2364) to extend expanded permissions for restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to use fixtures and equipment enabling them to serve patrons outdoors in private areas, on sidewalks, and in other municipally-designated outdoor areas. The permissions, which were set to expire November 30, 2022, will now be extended by two additional years.
“My administration worked in collaboration with the Legislature to support the restaurant industry and its customers by expanding outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic. We continue that support today by extending these expanded permissions for food and beverage establishments throughout our state,” said Gov. Murphy. “Continuing this successful practice will not only benefit small business owners, but also the many patrons who have come to enjoy the atmosphere and opportunities outdoor dining offers.”
Today’s legislation, which was supported by the New Jersey Business & Industry Association (NJBIA), will authorize 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.
According to NJBIA Chief Government Affairs Officer Chrissy Buteas, “The association has been a consistent, vocal supporter of legislation throughout COVID-19 to provide this needed flexibility to our restaurants and hospitality industry which has been impacted these past two years.”
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.
“The legislation signed today by Governor Murphy further demonstrates his sustained commitment to supporting businesses throughout the state as they emerge from the pandemic and transition from surviving to thriving,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “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.”
Senator Paul Sarlo, who was a lead sponsor of the bill, commented, “Outdoor dining was a vital lifeline for restaurants and bars that experienced severe financial hardship during the pandemic. 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.”
“We are very excited and appreciative of all the hard work Gov. Murphy and legislative sponsors have done to bring this to fruition,” said Frank Giampa, Chef/Owner of Vesta Wood-Fired. “This legislation is a great example of dynamic leadership navigating the people of New Jersey through the tough times of COVID to a better, more stable place. In these times of uncertainty, it’s reassuring to know we have leadership to take action on our behalf.”
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