San Diego Community News Group

Governor Newsom signs new law to expand outdoor dining across California

Published – 09/10/21 – 7:15 AM | 340 views | 0 | 3rd 3 recommendations | Email to a friend | to press

The expanded outdoor seating at PB Shore Club and Waterbar was established on Ocean Boulevard in Pacific Beach last summer.  PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE

The expanded outdoor seating at PB Shore Club and Waterbar was established on Ocean Boulevard in Pacific Beach last summer. PHOTO BY THOMAS MELVILLE

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On October 8, Governor Gavin Newsom signed a bill that will expand outdoor dining options across the Golden State. Assembly Bill (AB) 61, authored by Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), will empower local jurisdictions and the Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) to identify restaurants in the neighborhood that are cope with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic struggle to provide regulatory flexibility.

AB 61 provides restaurants with regulatory flexibility on a number of key issues, including enabling more outdoor food preparation and service, making better use of their own space for increased al fresco dining capacity, and expanding existing ABC orders that enable al fresco alcohol service . SG 61 also contains an urgency clause so that the measure comes into force immediately.

“Neighborhood restaurants are the backbone of communities across California, but too many are barely hanging by a thread,” said Gabriel. “Eating outdoors has been a vital lifeline that has helped these institutions keep their doors open during these challenging times. AB 61 provides important flexibility so that restaurants can safely dine al fresco and continue to serve their home communities. I applaud Governor Newsom for his prudent leadership in protecting both public health and small businesses as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic. ”

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged small businesses across the state – especially in the hospitality industry. While the National Restaurant Association reports modest job growth over the past two months, with California leading the nation in job growth, employment remains below pre-pandemic levels and nearly 4 out of 5 restaurants are understaffed. There were also 234,800 fewer restaurants in California in August than in August 2019.

“The catering industry has been hit hard by the pandemic. With indoor dining rooms still closed in most locations, al fresco dining has become a vital lifeline for restaurants, “said Madelyn Alfano, immediate past chairman of the California Restaurant Association and owner of Maria’s Italian Kitchen, an Italian Neighborhood restaurant with multiple locations in the San Fernando Valley. “AB 61 will help solve restaurant problems as we have created outdoor spaces to continue serving our customers. Nothing is more important to me than the safety of our customers and the ability to continue providing delicious meals to my community. “

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