As part of New Jersey´s response to COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy signed Friday into law a bill to extend a liquor permit deadline letting bars and restaurants serve alcohol outdoors.
“As we weather the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, we are continually trying to find new and innovative ways to aid our state’s business community while not sacrificing our public health,” Murphy, a Democrat, said about the liquor permit.
According to a report by FOX29, the bipartisan legislation passed the Democrat-led Legislature last month with no opposition.
The legislation extends permits issued by the state’s Alcoholic Beverage Control division made last summer that expanded where businesses with liquor licenses can serve alcohol to include outdoor locations.
Outdoor liquor permit
Under an order from the division, the expansion was supposed to last through November 2020, but the law expands it to Nov. 30, 2022, or when indoor dining returns to full capacity, whichever is later.
The liquor permit law comes the same day that Murphy expanded indoor dining capacity. It rose to 35% for restaurants and bars, up from 25%. The governor justified his decision to increase capacity due to declining hospital admission rates from the COVID-19.
The bill would allow restaurants, bars, breweries and distilleries struggling amid the coronavirus pandemic to extend their footprints and serve patrons in parking lots, yards, patios, decks and public sidewalks. The governor conditionally vetoed a similar bill last month.
But he has also been under pressure from political rivals calling for the reopening of businesses, which have been hurt under the governor’s executive orders limiting capacity.