NJ’s ‘really cool’ pandemic era shift extended to 2024
EAST RUTHERFORD — Restaurants and bars that expanded to al fresco dining to stay open when the pandemic hit can now continue those operations until the end of 2024, under a law signed into law on Thursday.
These businesses, along with breweries and distilleries, won permission to expand outdoor service in areas designated by municipalities in 2020, when indoor seating was temporarily banned. This has already been extended once until November 30, 2022 and has now been extended for two years beyond that.
“Which was born out of the need to help ensure the survival of wonderful local restaurants…we now continue to recognize how this has positively changed both the hospitality industry and the lives of our communities,” said the Governor Phil Murphy.
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The bill-signing ceremony took place outside Vesta Wood-Fired, a restaurant that has weathered the pandemic thanks in part to an emergency small business grant from the Economic Development Authority of India. State and Federal Paycheck Protection Program loan.
Sen. Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, said outdoor dining was “a vital lifeline” in 2020 that kept restaurants and bars afloat.
“And as we started to come out of this pandemic, we realized that outdoor dining is a really cool thing,” Sarlo said. “Really cool. It’s really cool to be outside.
Sarlo said the outdoor dining rules should be made permanent, and Murphy said he was open-minded to that.
Michael Symons is the Statehouse Bureau Chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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