NEW JERSEY – Governor Phil Murphy Wednesday 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 were set to expire November 30, 2022 but will now be extended by two additional years to support the food and beverage industry, patrons, and local communities by facilitating opportunities to serve customers outdoors.
“My Administration worked in collaboration with the Legislature to support the restaurant industry and their 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,” Murphy said. “Supporting the success of our small businesses ultimately means supporting the success of our communities. 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.”
The Governor authorized municipalities to enable the expansion of outdoor dining during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect residents while supporting food and beverage establishments. 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 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. This represents another part of the Governor’s ongoing support for small businesses, which includes the additional $50 million investment in the FY2023 budget for the Main Street Recovery Fund that has assisted many restaurants and other small businesses.
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 our 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.”
“The decision to sign a bill that will extend permissions to allow those of us in hospitality industry to serve patrons outdoors for an additional two years is incredible news!” said Luis de la Hoz, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. “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.”