Governor Phil Murphy has signed legislation that will expand opportunities for outdoor dining in New Jersey.
The bill (S3340) sets forth a framework for municipalities to allow restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to utilize outdoor spaces or public sidewalks as extensions of their business premises.
Many municipalities across the state have been taking these steps since the Governor authorized outdoor dining in June 2020.
“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 Governor Phil Murphy in a press statement. “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 bill extends the effective period of permits issued under an ABC special ruling made last summer that allowed licensees to expand the premises where they can serve alcoholic beverages to include outdoor spaces.
Restaurants will now be able to maintain the permit through November 30, 2022, or the date at which indoor dining returns to full capacity at restaurants – whichever is later.
In a signing statement, Governor Murphy noted that this extension will be automatic for all permitholders.
The bill also establishes protocols for municipalities to review and approve outdoor space expansion requests by restaurants without liquor licenses and those with liquor licenses that have not previously obtained expansion permits.