Outdoor dining rules for restaurants set during the pandemic, which were to expire this November 30, have been extended for another two years under legislation Governor Phil Murphy signed into law on Wednesday.
The state had loosened the regulations during the COVID pandemic to allow businesses to provide outdoor seating for diners. Now those regulations will continue through November 2024.
Outdoor dining had exploded by necessity in the summer of 2020 because Governor Murphy didn’t allow people to eat inside of restaurants. That regulation eventually changed the following September because of early-pandemic protocols. The Governor then signed legislation in February 2021 that permitted cities and towns to enable the expansion of outdoor dining. The legislation was signed after many local municipalities took similar steps to expand outdoor seating at restaurants.
The bill expanding the outdoor dining provision received unanimous support from Democrats and Republicans in both the Assembly and Senate in Trenton and Murphy signed it yesterday, stating, “Supporting the success of our small businesses ultimately means supporting the success of our communities. Continuing this successful practice will not only benefit small business owners, but also the many patrons who have come to enjoy the atmosphere and opportunities outdoor dining offers.”