Lavallette introduced an outdoor dining plan last summer to help borough restaurant weather the coronavirus storm, but the measure was so popular with business owners and residents alike, it’s here to stay for another season.
The borough’s resolution, passed unanimously last summer, initially lasted through the end of the year, and was then extended twice until Dec. 21, 2021 or until indoor gathering mandates were lifted by Gov. Phil Murphy. Indeed, Murphy recently lifted the indoor gathering mandate for restaurants, which would have nullified the resolution. At this week’s council meeting, the governing, once again, unanimously passed a resolution allowing the program to continue through the end of the year.
“I think our restaurants took quite a beating over this time, and giving an extension to help them recoup some of that is well worth it,” said Councilwoman Joanne Filippone.
Under the resolution, restaurants can apply through the municipal government for a permit which would allow the utilization of outdoor areas for dining, including areas where dining is not normally permitted, such as portions of sidewalks or streets. The outdoor dining areas are subject to reasonable regulations, including the obligation not to fully block any sidewalks or streets.
Restaurants that have liquor licenses may have to apply for amended outdoor permits since liquor licenses cover specific metes and bounds in which alcohol can be served.
Overall, the program proved popular and is likely here to stay in Lavallette as officials expect a busy summer season ahead.
“Every indication right now is that we will have a busier summer than last year, and last year we had a very busy summer,” Councilman David Finter said.