Legislation to expand outdoor dining in the state was approved by the California Senate Health Committee Wednesday. Assembly Bill 61, which would provide regulatory flexibility to restaurants still navigating the impacts of COVID-19, will go into effect immediately if signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.AB 61 would temporarily waive requirements for fully enclosed kitchen and service areas, extend existing Department of Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) regulatory relief and provide ABC with flexibility and discretion to allow for changes to existing alcohol licenses. The requirements would be waived for periods between six months and two years.“Neighborhood restaurants are the backbone of communities across California, but too many are barely hanging on by a thread,” Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel, the bill’s author who represents the 45th District in the western San Fernando Valley, said in a statement. “Outdoor dining offers a lifeline that can help keep these establishments afloat, but we must do more to assist them during these challenging times.”While the bill would extend temporary relief from ABC regulations, the measures protecting outdoor dining may be pursued beyond the 2024 expiration of AB 61."The changes we made to support outdoor dining during the pandemic saved countless jobs and businesses, and Angelenos have been clear that they want to see these improvements stay in place for good,” L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement. “I am proud to support Assemblymember Gabriel's legislation that will enable us to make outdoor dining a permanent feature in Los Angeles and across the state."
Outdoor Dining Legislation Moves Forward