Newsom extends outdoor dining, to-go alcohol sales

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Gov. Gavin Newsom signed legislation Friday that allows the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages and outdoor dining expansions to continue as restaurants continue to work toward recovery from the pandemic.

“These innovative strategies have been a lifeline for hard-hit restaurants during the pandemic, and today, we’re keeping the entrepreneurial spirit going so that businesses can continue to create exciting new opportunities and support vibrant neighborhoods across the state,” Newsom said in a prepared statement.

Senate Bill 389 allows restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries that sell food to continue offering to-go alcoholic beverages with food orders through Dec. 31, 2026, while Assembly Bill 61 and Senate Bill 314 allow businesses that temporarily expanded their premises a one-year grace period after the end of the emergency to apply for permanent expansion.

Locally, temporary-use permits issued by the city of Santa Clarita allowing the outdoor operations on sidewalks and in parking lots expired on June 15

Early on in the pandemic, Newhall Press Room invested in tamper-proof, sealable plastic bottles so they could sell glasses of wine to go, with co-owner Charles Potter noting the extension in regulations will benefit them, as they plan on continuing to offer to-go alcohol as long as they’re allowed.

“It seems to be a common theme across the country, and some states have gone as far as to say there’s no reason to take it away, so I’m happy to hear that Newsom has allowed that,” Potter said. “It’s nice that our customers can get to-go wine glasses with their meals, which adds to the experience.”

The California Restaurant Association also applauded the decision, with CEO and President Jot Condie saying in a statement, “The road to restaurant recovery will be a very long one and the importance of these measures taken together will remain a critical part of helping restaurants get back on their feet, reemploy massive numbers of Californians, and continue to safely serve the public.”

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