Legislation Preserves Regulatory Flexibility for Struggling Neighborhood Restaurants
- Dana Alpert
- Legislative/Communications Assistant
SACRAMENTO, CA — Today, legislation to sustain outdoor dining across California and help neighborhood restaurants stay afloat passed the California State Assembly 74-0 with strong bipartisan support. Authored by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D - Woodland Hills), Assembly Bill (AB) 1217 will preserve the current regulatory flexibility related to outdoor, patio, and al fresco dining and enable restaurants to continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic as they navigate rising costs.
“Neighborhood restaurants are the backbone of communities across California, but too many are barely hanging on by a thread,” said Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel. “Outdoor dining has been a critical lifeline that has helped these beloved establishments keep their doors open during these challenging times. AB 1217 preserves important flexibility so that restaurants can maintain outdoor dining in an efficient and affordable manner and continue to serve the communities they call home.”
"Outdoor dining has become an important lifeline for restaurants, and it's something that we have all come to love and enjoy,” stated Madelyn Alfano, Past Chair of the California Restaurant Association Board of Directors and owner of Maria’s Italian Kitchen, a neighborhood Italian restaurant with several locations in the San Fernando Valley. “Many restaurant owners have invested lots of money to build beautiful outdoor dining spaces to increase their capacity for private events and recoup some of their losses from these difficult past few years. AB 1217 will help sustain this crucial tool and allow local restaurants such as my own to continue to provide delicious meals for our communities.”
AB 1217 builds upon AB 61, a previous bill authored by Assemblymember Gabriel and signed into law by Governor Newsom in 2021. This measure provided restaurants with regulatory flexibility on a number of key issues, including enabling more outdoor food preparation and service, allowing restaurants to better use their own spaces for increased outdoor dining capacity, and extending existing orders allowing for alcohol service on outdoor premises. In light of continued hardships for restaurants across California, AB 1217 extends the regulatory flexibility offered by AB 61 to July 1, 2026.