‘Really Cool’ New Jersey Pandemic Era Change Extended to 2024
EAST RUTHERFORD — Restaurants and bars that expanded to alfresco dining to stay open when the pandemic hit can now continue to do so until the end of 2024, according to law issued on Thursday.
These companies, along with breweries and distilleries, were given permission to expand to field service in community-designated areas in 2020, when indoor seating was temporarily closed. This has already been extended once until November 30, 2022 and has now been extended by two more years.
“What was born out of necessity to ensure the survival of wonderful local restaurants… we’re moving on now because we recognize how it’s positively impacted both the hospitality industry and the lives of our communities,” Gov. Phil Murphy said.
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The signing ceremony took place outside at Vesta Wood-Fired, a restaurant that has weathered the pandemic in part thanks to an emergency small business grant from the state Economic Development Agency and a loan from the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
Senator Paul Sarlo, D-Bergen, said al fresco dining has been “a vital lifeline” in 2020, keeping restaurants and bars afloat.
“And as we started to get out of this pandemic, we realized that al fresco dining is a really cool thing,” Sarlo said. “Really cool. It’s really cool to be outside.”
Sarlo said the alfresco dining rules should be permanent, and Murphy said he’s open-minded about it.
Michael Symons is the Statehouse bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at [email protected]
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