New Jersey extends outdoor dining through 2024

Governor signs legislation permitting restaurants to continue operating their COVID-era structures
Gov. Phil Murphy (left) stands with a restaurant owner on Aug. 3, 2022, where he announced he signed a bill to extend expanded permissions for restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to use fixtures and equipment enabling them to serve patrons outdoors in private areas, on sidewalks, and in other municipally designated outdoor areas.
Gov. Phil Murphy (left) stands with a restaurant owner on Aug. 3, 2022, where he announced he signed a bill to extend expanded permissions for restaurants, bars, distilleries, and breweries to use fixtures and equipment enabling them to serve patrons outdoors in private areas, on sidewalks, and in other municipally designated outdoor areas. Photo credit Edwin J. Torres/NJ Governor’s Office via Flickr

SOUTH JERSEY (KYW Newsradio) — Restaurants in New Jersey will get a few more years of use out of their outdoor dining structures. Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Wednesday allowing businesses to expand into outdoor spaces through 2024.

Outdoor dining grew out of necessity for COVID-19 restrictions, which had forced restaurants into a tough spot throughout the pandemic.

The June 2020 rules permitted them to set up tables on public sidewalks or set up tents in parking lots. The order was set to expire this November, but the bill now extends it until November 2024. It passed unanimously in both the state Senate and Assembly.

“We want to see them succeed, period,” Murphy said. “We want them to continue serving their customers and employing their workers.

“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.”

Murphy, who recently returned from vacation in Italy, said he loves the European feel of tables set up on public sidewalks.

“We want our restaurants to not just be locations but destinations. We want them not just to be places to eat but places where neighbors gather and communities thrive,” he said. “They’ve come to enjoy the new atmosphere and character and sense of place that outdoor dining has given to their neighborhoods and downtowns. … We want this to continue.”

Despite the governor’s praise, there’s no commitment to extending beyond 2024 at this time.