Rep. McEntee’s bill extending outdoor dining at restaurants passes House
STATE HOUSE – The House of Representatives today passed Rep. Carol Hagan McEntee’s (D-Dist. 33, South Kingstown, Narragansett) bill which extends the law that allows restaurants to continue approved outdoor dining.
“The Take It Outside campaign helped so many of our restaurants get through the uncertainty and financial hardships of the pandemic and it has been embraced and enjoyed by the public immensely. Now that the program has proven to be very successful, it makes sense to keep allowing this type of dining experience, especially since our local small businesses invested so much money to take advantage of the opportunity. This bill will further enhance our world-renown culinary community for our residents and visitors alike while also supporting our incredible restaurants and eateries,” said Representative McEntee.
The legislation (2023-H 5264A) would extend the moratorium imposed on the enforcement of statutes, regulations or ordinances by municipalities or state agencies regarding food service establishment alterations or modifications made in order to comply with the emergency declaration(s) issued as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic to February 15, 2024. The previous moratorium was scheduled to end on April 1, 2023.
“I am also working on legislation that will facilitate a permanent solution for restaurants that have invested in the take it outside dining program. I am consulting with all stakeholders such as the League of Cities and Towns, the Hospitality Association and our restaurant owners to come up with a permanent solution that addresses everyone’s concerns,” added Representative McEntee.
The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration where Sen. Alana M. DiMario (D-Dist. 36, Narragansett, North Kingstown, New Shoreham) has introduced similar legislation (2023-S 0300).