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Bill to help restaurants recover heads to governor’s desk

A bill to help restaurants recover from pandemic losses is on its way to the governor’s desk.

Senate Bill 314 would grant businesses with expanded outdoor dining space a one-year grace period to apply for a permanent expansion, according to the bill’s author, State Senator Scott Wiener, D-San Francisco. The partner legislation in the Assembly is authored by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel, D-Woodland Hills.

In a news release from his office Friday, Wiener said:

“Outdoor dining has become a part of our way of life in cities and towns across California. … S.B. 314 will keep this popular practice in place. It will also help our small businesses recover from COVID-19, which has devastated our hospitality industry in particular.”

The one-year grace period would begin, according to the release, after the emergency order is lifted to apply for a permanent expansion, allowing significantly expanded outdoor restaurant/bar seating with alcohol service, for example, on streets, parking lots, alleys or sidewalks.

The legislation would also streamline the state’s alcohol licensing process by increasing to 36, from the current maximum of 24, the number of times business can use a catering license at a single location.

Wiener said his bill passed the Assembly and the Senate on concurrence by unanimous votes.

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