Outdoor Seating: Special Ruling Of NJ ABC Director

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Beginning on June 15, limited outdoor seating will be allowed for New Jersey establishments with on-premises consumption licenses and permits to serve alcoholic beverages. To accomplish this statewide change, the Director of the New Jersey Division of ABC (the “NJ ABC”) created a temporary permit entitled COVID-19 Expansion of Premises Permit (“COVID-19 Expansion Permit”), which will be effective from June 15 to November 30.

Applications are available now and will be processed through the NJ ABC online system. Since the application process is very streamlined, licensees seeking to expand to outdoor areas should carefully read the Director’s Special Ruling which explains what types of licensees can apply, details of the application process and possible outdoor areas which can be either contiguous or non-contiguous (but nearby) the licensed premises. Applications must document that the licensee has possession and control of the expanded area, including landlord consent if applicable. Licensees should make arrangements with an emphasis on controlling outdoor operations for compliance with existing laws and ABC regulations, especially consumption by underage or intoxicated persons. Licensees are cautioned to consult with insurance advisors to confirm that all types of coverage will be in intact for the expanded area, including all property and business coverage, as well as dram shop liability. Finally, licensees seeking to expand to outside seating should be aware that the NJ ABC will consult with local officials and that local concerns will be addressed through imposition of Special Conditions on the COVID-19 Expansion Permit.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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