NEW JERSEY — Governor Phil Murphy signed a new law this week that extends outdoor dining in New Jersey until November 2024.
“There are restaurants and bars and growing numbers of breweries that are still relying on the outdoor dining spaces they were allowed to create to get themselves back financially to where they were pre-pandemic,” Murphy said. “We want to see them succeed, period. We want them to continue serving their customers and employing their workers.”
Under the law, restaurants, bars, breweries and distilleries can use tents, umbrellas, tables and chairs outside their establishments to serve patrons.
It was something that Murphy said “started out of necessity” during the COVID-19 pandemic for establishments to survive. Many business owners have continued to offer outdoor dining.
Sen. Paul Sarlo (D – District 36) and Assemblyman Roy Freiman (D – District 16) are two of the five sponsors of the bill, S-2364. Not one lawmaker in Trenton voted against it.
“Outdoor dining is really cool,” Sarlo said. “It’s really cool to be outside, enjoy family and friends, enjoy a couple of drinks, enjoy some great food, and be part of the community.”
“I’m signing this bill today because of the ever-increasing numbers of patrons who have simply come to enjoy outdoor dining on its own, especially on a beautiful summer night or a bright weekend day,” Murphy said. “They’ve come to enjoy the new atmosphere, character and sense of place that outdoor dining has given to their neighborhoods and their downtowns and let me say this unequivocally, we want this to continue.”
The bill signing took place at Vesta Wood-Fired in East Rutherford, a restaurant that serves diners under a tent in the parking lot. The restaurant also received a grant from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which was part of the state’s small business emergency assistance program to support New Jersey businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have to as a state do what we can to help our small businesses,” Freiman said. “We got this legislation right.”
Before the bill signing, outdoor dining in New Jersey was set to expire in November 2022.