Governor Murphy Announces Outdoor Dining Protocols and Process to Expand Premises for Liquor License Holders
TRENTON – Governor Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed Executive Order No. 150, permitting outdoor dining starting on Monday, June 15th, with an accompanying Executive Directive from the New Jersey Department of Health that lays out health and safety standards that food or beverage establishments are required to follow. In addition, the Governor announced a special ruling by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control creating a pathway for liquor license holders to expand the premises on which they may serve alcohol.
“Restaurants and bars throughout New Jersey have been immensely cooperative with necessary public health measures that were placed upon them while battling the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Phil Murphy. “Allowing outdoor dining and the expansion of alcohol-serving areas will allow restaurants and bars to begin welcoming customers back while continuing to comply with necessary social distancing guidance.”
Executive Order No. 150 allows outdoor dining at food or beverage establishments in New Jersey starting on Monday, June 15th. Establishments will be required to follow a number of COVID-19 health and safety protocols issued by the Department of Health, including a limit of eight customers per table, and requirements of at least six feet of distance between parties. In addition, for as long as indoor dining is not permitted, food or beverage establishments are required to prohibit smoking in any outdoor areas designated for the consumption of food and/or beverages.
The Order further notes that municipalities are permitted to use their existing authority to allow food or beverage establishments to expand their footprint to outdoor areas, both within their property and among municipally-governed areas, including but not limited to sidewalks, streets, or parks.
Additionally, a special ruling by the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) will temporarily permit establishments with liquor licenses to expand their licensed premises into outdoor areas that are either contiguous or non-contiguous to their permanently licensed premises. Establishments may apply through the POSSE ABC Online Licensing system, and if approved will be issued a temporary permit effective on June 15th that will run until November 14, 2020. ABC will not take action on any application until it receives an endorsement or approval by the appropriate governing body officials, and it is the responsibility of the licensee to comply with local ordinances and site plan requirements.