East Rutherford, New Jersey– By Christi Peace
Governor 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 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,” said Governor Murphy. “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 pandemic hit our state hard. To keep our communities safe and our economy running, our Democratic Congress passed the American Rescue Plan to deliver needed relief. That plan provided over $10 billion for New Jersey which helped establishments like Vesta Wood-Fired in East Rutherford stay afloat,” said U.S. Congressman Bill Pascrell, Jr. “I commend Governor Murphy for taking action today to provide additional relief for New Jersey restaurants. In Congress, I helped pass the Relief for Restaurants and Other Hard-Hit Industries Act to provide an additional $55 billion for small businesses impacted by COVID. I’ll continue to push the Senate to pass our bill, but in the meantime it is encouraging to know our small businesses have a staunch supporter like Governor Murphy here in the Garden State.”
“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.”
“Outdoor dining was a vital lifeline for restaurants and bars that experienced severe financial hardship during the pandemic,” said Senator Paul Sarlo. “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.”
“Outdoor dining was a real success during challenging times,” said Senator Gordon Johnson. “It offered safe dining conditions for people who were anxious to get back to their favorite restaurants and bars as we emerged from the coronavirus shutdown. There are still variants around and local businesses haven’t regained all their lost business – so this is a success story that should continue.”
“Even with indoor dining back, residents still enjoy dining al fresco. Our businesses are on the road to recovery,” said Assembly members Roy Freiman, Gabriela Mosquera, and Chris Tully. “Every resource must be available to them while they get back on track. It worked well during the peak of the pandemic and now, many have found this to be an expanded opportunity for restauranteurs and certain businesses. It’s good for small business.”
“East Rutherford Mayor and Council are honored to have Governor Murphy announce the extension of the outdoor restaurant dining here at one of our fine dining establishments,” said East Rutherford Mayor Jeffrey Lahullier. “Our restaurant owners, and all restaurant owners who have struggled through this Pandemic commend the Governor’s Office and Senator Sarlo’s office for a job well done!”
“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.”
“We are very excited and appreciative of all the hard work Governor Murphy, Senator Paul Sarlo, and other legislative sponsors have done to bring this to fruition,” said Frank Giampa, Chef/Owner of Vesta Wood-Fired. “This legislation extending outdoor dining 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.” East Rutherford Mayor and Council are honored to have Governor Murphy announce the extension of the outdoor restaurant dining here at one of our fine dining establishments. Our restaurant owners, and all restaurant owners who have struggled through this Pandemic commend the Governor’s Office and Senator Sarlo’s office for a job well done!