Trenton – Two bills sponsored by Senator Vin Gopal and Senator Linda Greenstein that would allow certain alcoholic beverage retailers to expand their businesses and continue to bounce back from the worst days of the Covid-19 pandemic advanced out of the Senate Law and Public Safety Committee.
The first bill, S-355, makes permanent a provision that temporarily granted retail licensees and craft distillery licensees certain privileges during the pandemic, including the ability to deliver alcoholic beverages and mixed drinks. So-called “to-go cocktails,” including takeout and delivery, became increasingly popular for both patrons and hospitality establishments during the height of the pandemic.
“Making to-go cocktails a permanent staple in the New Jersey food and beverage industry will assist restaurants with long-term stability while also allowing them to recover from pandemic limitations,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Such innovations reflect the business models adopted by some establishments in the wake of the pandemic.”
Under the amended bill, mixed drinks would be sold in closed and sealed containers that are affixed with a tamper evident seal and hold not more than 16 fluid ounces. Any other alcoholic beverages may be sold and delivered in original containers of any size.
“Given that some residents remain hesitant about returning to their favorite restaurant or bar in person, this bill represents a common-sense measure that reflects a form of new normalcy for some businesses, and one more way for these establishments to attract patrons and remain viable,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Middlesex/Mercer). “Both restaurants and customers will greatly benefit from this bill.”
The second bill, S-1505, would permit and regulate the operation of pedicabs and the consumption of alcoholic beverages in pedicabs.
Under the bill, the pedicab would be able to operate under these conditions:
- the pedicabhas been authorized to operate by ordinance of its municipality;
- the operator must be 21 years old and possess a driver’s license;
- thevehicle must be equipped with seatbelts, brakes, reflectors, headlights, and grab rails;
- the owner of the pedicab must maintain general liability insurance of a minimum of $500,000;
- the owner of the pedicab cannot drive faster than 30 miles per hour
Current New Jersey law does not allow pedicab passengers to drink alcohol while riding the pedicab. This bill would bring New Jersey pedicab rules into alignment with some other states, including California, North Carolina, and Louisiana, all of which allow alcohol on board the pedicab.
“By designating certain areas for individuals aged 21 and over to drink outdoors, we can ease law enforcement challenges, while allowing local establishments to expand their business, and also foster opportunities for new businesses like pedicabs to grow and prosper,” added Senator Gopal