Restaurants and bars will be able to continue offering expanded outdoor dining and takeout alcoholic beverages through the end of the year, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Thursday.
Flanked by state and local officials at Tommy’s Mexican Restaurant in San Francisco, Newsom said the state’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control extended through Dec. 31 pandemic-era regulatory relief for restaurants and bars, including the use of sidewalks and converted parking spaces for outdoor dining and the sale of alcohol to-go.
Bars will also be allowed to continue partnering with food trucks, restaurants and catering companies to sell food with alcohol even if they don’t have an on-site kitchen.
Newsom said restaurants will be vital to the economy “roaring back,” as he has repeatedly suggested will happen in the second half of the year, and argued the increased operational freedom will spur a faster recovery for restaurants and bars.
“(Mayor London Breed) and I have had a lot of conversations about this … about the success of these parklets and how it’s enlivened our streets,” Newsom said.
“This is the one bright light we’ve had throughout this pandemic,” Breed said. “You see people, you see families, you see smiles, you see faces, and people are out enjoying San Francisco like never before.”
State legislators have introduced bills to make permanent some of the changes to how restaurants and bars are allowed to operate, but those aren’t on track to be approved in time for the state to lift its capacity restrictions on June 15.
Sen. Bill Dodd, D-Napa, introduced a bill earlier this year that would allow to-go cocktail sales to continue permanently, arguing that it would help the state’s small businesses and offer more choice for consumers.
The Senate unanimously passed Senate Bill 389 last month, and it currently remains under consideration in the Assembly.
“I thank the governor for his leadership in supporting the recovery of restaurants,” Dodd said in a statement. “They have been devastated by the pandemic and this action will immediately assist these small businesses and the people they employ.”
The notice of regulatory relief can be found at https://www.abc.ca.gov/eighth-notice-of-regulatory-relief.