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Liquor License Holders Can Apply for Temporary Expansion Under Special Ruling for Outdoor Dining
Liquor License Holders Can Apply for Temporary Expansion Under Special Ruling for Outdoor Dining

Per Governor Murphy’s Executive Order No. 150, restaurants will be permitted to open on June 15, 2020 for outdoor seating only. In furtherance of E.O. 150, the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (State ABC) has issued guidance and enacted a streamlined approval process for the expansion of licensed premises.

The State ABC issued Special Ruling 2020-10 on June 3, 2020, allowing a license holder to apply for a one-time permit to expand their licensed premises for outdoor seating from June 15, 2020 until November 30, 2020 (“Expansion Permit”). Plenary Retail Consumption licensees (33) and Hotel/Motel licensees (36) may apply to the State ABC for the Expansion Permit. The Expansion Permit will allow licensees to expand their licensed premises to outdoor areas adjacent or contiguous to the licensed premises. The Director of the State ABC may also permit a licensee to expand the licensed premises to non-contiguous property if it is within reasonable proximity to the licensed premises and the licensee ensures all alcoholic beverages are served in a manner that protects the health, welfare and safety of the public. For either contiguous or non-contiguous properties, the licensee must have the consent of the owner of the outdoor area and/or a possessory interest and control over the areas. Licensees that offer food service at their licensed premises must offer bona fide food service on the expanded premises. The State ABC has offered the following as examples of permissible expansion areas: decks, patios, sidewalk and parking lots adjacent to or contiguous with the licensed premises, or parks established by a municipality and other public rights of way as long as the areas are accessible by the licensee.

The Expansion Permit application requires the following information:

  1. Name, address and license number of application;
  2. Description of property that is subject of the application (sketch or photographs);
  3. Written approval or documentation from the property owner authorizing temporary use of the expanded premises;
  4. Proposed security plan for the sale and service of alcoholic beverages on the expanded premises to prevent underage drinking, pass-offs and over-consumption; and
  5. Acknowledgement by the licensee that they have reviewed all local and State safety and social distancing guidelines and will operate the expanded premises in accordance with those guidelines.

The Expansion Permit must be submitted exclusively through the State ABC POSSE system. There is a $75 filing fee due at the time of submission. The application will be transmitted to the local municipal clerk and police chief of the locality where the license is located. The State ABC will not take action on any application until it receives an endorsement or approval by the appropriate municipal officials. If granted to a licensee, the State ABC will issue the Expansion Permit through the POSSE system. The Expansion Permit application will be available on the POSSE system Friday, June 5, 2020.

Each licensee must also contact the local liquor license issuing authority to confirm if a local permit to have outdoor seating is required in addition to the Expansion Permit.

  • James C. McCann

    James McCann’s practice encompasses the areas of acquisition, sale and development of real property, land use, redevelopment law, tax abatements, condominium and planned real estate development law, and alcoholic beverage ...

  • Melissa D. Lopez
    Of Counsel

    Melissa Lopez focuses primarily on real estate transactions, land use, redevelopment law, condominium and planned real estate development, complex commercial financing, commercial leasing and tax abatements. She also handles ...


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