A new bill introduced in Trenton aimed at helping the state’s struggling bars and restaurants. New Jersey State Senator Steve Oroho, Assemblyman Parker Space and Assemblyman Hal Wirths welcomed a new law expanding opportunities for restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to provide outdoor dining to customers.
“This is finally a little bit of good news for businesses that have endured almost a full year of misery from the threat of the coronavirus and the oppressive lockdowns and restrictions intended to prevent its spread,” said Oroho. “In their struggle to survive, many of these small employers made significant investments to serve customers outdoors, and this new law will allow them to recover the money they spent and generate additional revenue. Once again, they will be able to use the outdoor heaters, tents, lights and other equipment they had to remove months ago. It is a step in the right direction.”
The District 24 legislators were sponsors of the bill (S-3340/A-5246) signed today by the Governor. Businesses had been crushed when Murphy vetoed a similar measure in early January.
“Aggressive restrictions have been devastating to restaurants and taverns,” said Space. “Many have closed their doors forever, and many more are doing everything in their power to hold on. By allowing food and drink establishments to utilize outdoor spaces, including patios and decks, walkways and parking lots, they will be able to serve more customers, pay more employees, and keep their lights on.”
The new law will develop outdoor dining for small businesses on a broad basis, rather than municipality by municipality as it had been previously.
“Restaurants, bars, breweries, and other hospitality businesses will now have more certainty and flexibility under the new law, and a clearer picture of their options as they face a few more months of winter weather,” said Wirths (R-24). “The bill was signed on the same day restrictions on indoor dining were eased, from 25 percent of capacity to 35 percent, and the 10 p.m. curfew on indoor dining was lifted. For entrepreneurs and employees who have paid an unimaginable toll over the past year, there is finally a reason for optimism, and a chance to make money from the Super Bowl this weekend.”