California on Friday decided to expand the sale of take-out cocktails and maintain alcohol service for alfresco dining in parklets as authorities try to help restaurants recover from the coronavirus pandemic.
“This is a way for these companies to frankly offset a lot of the constraints that have been placed on them over the past 18 months,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said as he signed the three bills in one community. restaurant in Oakland.
Two of the three bills extend pandemic-era outdoor dining permits and alcohol sales in parklets for one year after the state of emergency ends, giving businesses time to apply authorization to obtain permanent approval.
The third allows restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries that sell food to continue offering take-out alcoholic beverages with food orders until December 31, 2026.
Associations representing restaurants and the distilled spirits industry welcomed the signing.
“The road to restaurant recovery will be very long and the importance of these actions taken together will remain a critical component in helping restaurants get back on their feet, re-employ large numbers of Californians, and continue to serve the public with confidence. safety, ”Calif. CEO and President of the Restaurant Association, Jot Condie, said in a statement.
Adam Smith, vice president of state government relations for the U.S. Distilled Spirits Council, said the move would support hospitality businesses devastated by the pandemic.
At least 35 states have allowed restaurants or bars to sell take-out cocktails during the pandemic, he said. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have since made this permanent, while 15 other states like California have kept it temporarily.
Newsom signed the bills at Oakland’s Kingston 11 restaurant, where owner Nigel Jones said sales fell 70% at the start of the pandemic, mostly due to lost alcohol sales.
“We’re excited about the future,” Jones said, although “it’s always very difficult as we go along.”
Newsom got his start as a wine entrepreneur, though his wineries and other businesses are now on blind trust.
He said in response to questions that state and local authorities must still enforce responsible drinking, but the laws are more restrictive than his previous decrees. They include the accompanying food requirement and allow pickup but not delivery, Newsom said.
Assembly member Jesse Gabriel, who drafted one of the bills, said six of 10 restaurants in California are owned by people of color, who he says have been hit harder than others. by the pandemic.
Senator Scott Wiener, author of another bill, said the temporary measures were “a lifeline for restaurants and bars” during the pandemic.
Wiener, of San Francisco, said the new laws “take a step back and say, you know, we did this thing quickly during the pandemic, and as big as this pandemic has been, let’s take the good that we’ve learned during the pandemic. this emergency and let’s make it permanent.