California Enacts Three Restaurant Relief Measures
Posted in Legal Bites
California Enacts Three Restaurant Relief Measures

On October 8, 2021, Governor Newsom approved three restaurant relief measures. These measures will affect outdoor dining and the ABC license process.  All three measures received bipartisan support and were supported by restaurant advocacy groups.

AB 61: Business Pandemic Relief

AB 61 authorizes the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (“ABC”) to permit restaurants to serve alcohol in an expanded license area. The bill would also authorize the ABC to extend the period of time during which the COVID-19 permit is valid beyond 365 days if the licensee has applied for permanent expansion of their premises. The bill would make these provisions effective until July 1, 2024. AB 61 includes an urgency clause, meaning that it goes into effect immediately.

The law was designed to provide restaurants with regulatory flexibility on a number of key issues, including enabling more outdoor food preparation and service, allowing restaurants to better use their own spaces for increased outdoor dining capacity, and extending existing ABC orders allowing for alcohol service on outdoor premises. Our earlier conversation with bill sponsor Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel on the importance of AB 61 is available here.

SB 314: Bar and Restaurant Recovery Act

SB 314 passed both the Assembly (76-0) and the Senate (37-0) with unanimous, bipartisan votes. The law will grant businesses with temporarily expanded premises a one-year grace period to apply for a permanent expansion. The law also creates open container zones and streamlines the process for bars and restaurants to acquire a liquor license from Alcoholic Beverage Control.

SB 389: Alcoholic Beverages: retail on-sale license; off-sale privileges

SB 389 permits restaurants to sell consumers alcoholic beverages with their takeout orders. It has a sunset date of December 31, 2026. Alcoholic beverages must be in single-serve containers, must be sold with a bona fide meal, and are limited to two beverages per meal. Customers must order and pick up their own alcoholic beverages.


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