ASSEMBLY, No. 4190

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED JUNE 1, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblywoman  HOLLY T. SCHEPISI

District 39 (Bergen and Passaic)

Assemblyman  JOHN J. BURZICHELLI

District 3 (Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem)

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)

 

Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblyman DePhillips, Assemblywoman Dunn, Assemblyman Peters, Assemblywoman Murphy, Assemblymen Wirths, Space, Webber, Bergen, DiMaio, Assemblywomen DiMaso, B.DeCroce, Chaparro, Assemblyman Peterson, Assemblywoman Stanfield, Assemblymen Spearman, Thomson, Giblin, Armato and Mazzeo

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Permits certain entertainment and retail activity during current public health emergency and state of emergency.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act permitting certain entertainment and retail activity during current public health emergency and state of emergency.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    a.  Notwithstanding the provisions of any law to the contrary, during the period that this section is in effect, the governing body of a municipality, by resolution, may designate one or more days per week, from Thursday through Sunday, during which any municipal street or road, or county street or road, that traverses a business district of the municipality shall be closed to vehicular traffic and shall be accessible by pedestrians only, so that the owners or operators of restaurants, bars, and retail businesses located on those county or municipal streets or roads may use the streets or roads as an extension of their business premises and conduct retail sales.  For the purposes of this section, “retail sales” shall include sales of food and alcoholic beverage for consumption at tables owned by restaurants and bars and located for those days on the closed streets, roads, or sidewalks, as determined by the municipality.  Municipalities shall require that any restaurants, bars or retail businesses operating pursuant to this subsection shall establish, maintain and enforce social distancing protocols and the use of personal protective equipment by members of the public and employees of participating business establishments.

     A resolution adopted by the governing body of a municipality pursuant to this subsection shall delineate the following information:

     (1)   a detailed description of the municipality’s plan for the use of the streets and roads to be closed, including, but not limited to, the number of businesses, restaurants, and bars that intend to use the closed roadways for retail sales, and the times of day that the retail sales shall begin and end;

     (2)   the municipality’s plan for the closure of the municipal or county streets and roads and the diversion of traffic to other municipal or county streets or roads on the dates set forth in the resolution adopted by the municipality; and

     (3)   measures to be taken by the municipal police department to maintain the safety and security of municipal residents during the closure of municipal and county roads and streets for the business activity permitted in this subsection.

     A municipality in which the provisions of section 14 of P.L.1999, c.90 (C.40A:64-1) are in effect, that designates Sunday as the day of the week that municipal or county streets or roads shall be closed for the business activity authorized in subsection a. of this section, shall be permitted, by resolution, to suspend the requirements of section 14 of P.L.1999, c.90 (C.40A:64-1) in the municipality on those days.

     b.    A resolution adopted pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall not permit a restaurant, bar, or retail business to engage in the practice newly enabled by the resolution unless and until the restaurant, bar, or retail business enters into an agreement with the governing body of the municipality and the governing body of the county to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the county and municipality from any claims resulting from any actions or inactions of the restaurant, bar or retail business, its staff, or its customers during the dates specified in the resolution.

     c.     A municipality that has adopted a resolution pursuant to subsection a. of this section shall transmit a copy of the resolution by electronic mail to the county governing body, and to the clerk and the police chief of each municipality located within 10 miles of the municipality, not later than the seventh calendar day next following the adoption of the resolution.  The municipality shall also provide a copy of the resolution by email or regular mail to each business and residence located on the streets or roads to be closed pursuant to subsection a. of this section.

     d.    A municipality may close a municipal street or road, or a county street or road, pursuant to subsection a. of this section only if the municipal police department determines that an alternative traffic pattern exists for motor vehicles to move safely around the closed streets or roads, that the closure of the county or municipal streets or roads does not impede public safety or pedestrian safety in the municipality, and that the closure of the county or municipal streets or roads shall not result in truck or heavy equipment traffic being diverted onto residential municipal or county streets and roads on the dates, and during the periods of time, that the business activity authorized in subsection a. of this section takes place.

     e.     The municipal police department shall enforce all State and local traffic laws on any municipal or county street or road on the dates, and during the periods of time, that the business activity authorized in subsection a. of this section takes place.

 

     2.    The Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in the Department of Law and Public Safety shall issue a special ruling pursuant to R.S.33:1-39 to entitle the holders of plenary retail consumption licenses to extend their licensed premises to allow for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in outdoor places in a manner that adheres to current social distancing practices.  The special ruling shall establish outdoor customer seating requirements which shall be followed by plenary retail consumption licensees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

     3.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire on: (1) the date of expiration, termination, or rescission of any and all executive or administrative orders issued by the Governor or Commissioner of Health establishing coronavirus-related occupancy or customer seating restrictions applicable to restaurants, bars, or retail businesses; or (2) the first day of the seventh month following the date on which the Governor declares that the state of emergency has ended, whichever date occurs later.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill is intended to increase economic activity in the State’s local business districts, which have been seriously impacted by restrictions imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

     This bill would permit the governing body of a municipality, by resolution, to designate one or more days per week, from Thursday through Sunday, during which any municipal street, road or sidewalk, or county street, road, or sidewalk, that traverses a business district of the municipality shall be closed to vehicular traffic and shall be accessible by pedestrians only, so that the owners or operators of restaurants, bars, and retail businesses located on those county or municipal streets or roads may use the streets or roads as an extension of their business premises and conduct retail sales, including sales of food and alcoholic beverage for consumption at tables owned by restaurants and bars and located for those days on the closed streets roads or sidewalks.  The bill would require the Director of the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control in the Department of Law and Public Safety to issue a special ruling pursuant to R.S.33:1-39 to entitle the holders of plenary retail consumption licenses to extend their licensed premises to allow for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in outdoor places in a manner that adheres to current social distancing practices.  The special ruling would establish outdoor customer seating requirements which shall be followed by plenary retail consumption licensees in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

     The bill directs municipalities to ensure that appropriate social distancing protocols and the use of personal protective equipment by members of the public and employees of participating business establishments are required and enforced.

     A municipality in which the provisions of section 14 of P.L.1999, c.90 (C.40A:64-1) (the “blue laws” banning Sunday retail sales) are in effect, that designates Sunday as the day of the week that municipal or county streets or roads shall be closed for the business activity authorized in the bill, would be permitted, by resolution, to suspend those prohibitions in the municipality on those days.

     A restaurant, bar, or retail business would not be permitted to participate in the business activity authorized under the bill unless the restaurant, bar, or retail business enters into an agreement with the municipal governing body and the county governing body to indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the municipality and county from any claims resulting from any actions or inactions of the restaurant, bar or retail business, its staff, or its customers during the dates specified in the resolution.

     Under the bill, a municipality may close a municipal street or road, or a county street or road, only if the municipal police department determines that an alternative traffic pattern exists for motor vehicles to move safely around the closed streets or roads, that the closure of the county or municipal streets or roads does not impede public safety or pedestrian safety in the municipality, and that the closure of the county or municipal streets or roads shall not result in truck traffic being diverted onto residential municipal or county streets or roads.