At East Rutherford’s Vesta Wood-Fired restaurant Aug. 3, Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation to extend outdoor dining for restaurants, bars, distilleries and breweries.
The measure, Senate Bill 2364, continues permissions that were set to expire at the end of November for two more years.
“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 Murphy. “Supporting the success of our small businesses ultimately means support the success of our communities.”
The legislation extends a law signed by Murphy in February 2021. It authorizes the continued use of fixtures such as tents, canopies, umbrellas, tables and chairs for outdoor dining until Nov. 30, 2024.
“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,” said New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan.
Bill sponsor state Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-36th District, which includes East Rutherford, said outdoor dining was a vital lifeline for restaurants and bars that experienced financial hardship during the pandemic.
“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,” he said. “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.”
“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 helped us recuperate losses due to the pandemic,” said Luis de la Hoz, chairman of the board of directors of the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey. “Extending these permissions will help us get back on our feet after this arduous battle.”
Vesta Wood-Fired owner Frank Giampa said he is very excited and appreciative of the efforts to bring this legislation to fruition.
“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,” Giampa said. “In these times of uncertainty, it’s reassuring to know we have leadership to take action on our behalf.”
“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,” said Murphy.