Restaurants in the Southland and across the state will be able to continue offering a service that evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic — selling alcoholic beverages to-go, Gov. Gavin Newsom said Thursday.
Newsom said the state will also continue permitting restaurants and bars to operate in outdoor areas such as sidewalks and parking lots, although such operations are still subject to local zoning regulations. According to Newsom’s office, the governor is “urging local governments to facilitate outdoor dining through local zoning and programs that support and promote expanded, open-air, take-out and delivery options.”
Expanded outdoor dining options and the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages emerged during the pandemic in an effort to help restaurants struggling to survive under strict COVID-19 regulations, which forced indoor dining to close for months and restricted eateries to open-air or take-out service.
Newsom noted that while the sale of to-go alcohol will be able to continue, such sales will have to be coupled with food purchases.
“California’s restaurants help create the vibrant and diverse communities that make California the envy of the world,” Newsom said. “As the state turns to post-pandemic life, we’ll continue to adapt best practices that have helped businesses transform customer experience for the better.
“With new opportunities and support for businesses large and small, and the California can-do spirit that has carried us through the past year, we will come roaring back from this pandemic.”
The extended rules announced by Newsom will also allow bars to continue partnering with food trucks, catering companies or restaurants to sell meals with alcoholic beverages.
The California Republican Party scoffed at Newsom’s announcement, deeming it a hollow gesture to an industry that “suffered more than most under Gavin Newsom’s overbearing shutdowns.”
“… Newsom offered little to the nearly one-third of California restaurants that permanently closed during the pandemic and two-thirds of employees who at least temporarily lost their jobs,” according to the state GOP, which called the announcement an effort by Newsom to detract from a pending recall election.