California lawmakers want outdoor dining to continue beyond pandemic

California

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — State lawmakers urged Gov. Gavin Newsom to sign bills that would extend outdoor dining in California.

Lawmakers said one of the lessons learned in the pandemic was the beauty of outdoor dining, and they are hoping to keep the option available for restaurants for years ahead.

“Outdoor dining has been their lifeline, it has kept these beloved neighborhood restaurants open,” said Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills.

Assemblyman Gabriel and Sen. Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco, Tuesday urged Newsom to sign their legislation, which would continue to provide restaurants and bars the flexibility to use outdoor spaces to prepare food and serve customers outside.

Lawmakers noted the proposal has bipartisan support and were confident the governor would show his approval.

“It’s really about regulatory relief and getting rid of some of the regulatory burdens and hoops they have to jump through to make it a lot easier,” Gabriel explained.

The bills would extend outdoor dining and alcohol service either a year after the end of the state of emergency declaration or 2024, whichever comes first.

“It’s a quirk in California law, the Legislature, we don’t have the power, under the constitution, to grant liquor licenses, only Alcohol Beverage Commission can. So ABC needs our authorization going beyond the state of emergency,” Wiener said.

According to restauranteurs, alcohol is key to business.

“Without alcohol, beer, wine and cocktail service, it’s really not that attractive, particularly for a dinner service restaurant or lunch, brunch restaurant, to do the business that we need to do,” said Laurie Thomas, the executive director of the Golden Gate Restaurant Association.

Gov. Newsom has until Oct. 10 to sign or veto the proposal. 

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