NEW JERSEY — Added outdoor dining in public spaces will continue in New Jersey through November 2022 or until indoor dining returns to full capacity, under coronavirus-related legislation signed into law by Gov. Phil Murphy.
The new law applies to restaurants with or without liquor licenses, bars, distilleries and breweries to utilize outdoor spaces or public sidewalks as extensions of their business premises — and requires municipal approval for such operations. However, many municipalities, including Red Bank, Belmar and Lake Como, have already taken these steps since Murphy authorized outdoor dining last June.
“As we weather the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continually trying to find new and innovative ways to aid our state’s business community, while not sacrificing our public health,” said Murphy. “This bill will give our restaurants more certainty for the future, so they can once again lean into the outdoor expansions we allowed this past summer to help recoup losses and strengthen their businesses and the jobs they support.”
The law specifically extends the effective period of permits issued under an Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) agency special ruling made last summer that allowed licensees to expand the premises where they can serve alcoholic beverages to include outdoor spaces.
Those eateries who already have outdoor dining permits will have them extended automatically.
The legislation also creates a new permit that allows breweries. craft distilleries, wineries and cideries to sell their products at seasonal farm markets for off-premises consumption.
Among the bill’s sponsors were Sen. Vin Gopal (D-Monmouth), Assemblyman Eric Houghtaling (D-Monmouth), who both represent the 11th District. Sen. Bob Singer, and Assemblymen Sean Kean and Edward “Ned” Thomson (R-Monmouth/Ocean), who represent the 30th District, which includes Belmar and Lake Como, voted in favor of the measure.
Murphy’s action on February 5 came on the same day that indoor dining capacity was extended from 25% to 35% and the 10 p.m. curfew on eating and drinking establishments were lifted.
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