After closing outdoor restaurants for months? Murphy relaxes alcohol service rules… for a fee.

After closing outdoor restaurants for months? Murphy relaxes alcohol service rules… for a fee.

TRENTON, N.J. – This one is guaranteed to make your blood boil, Save Jerseyans.

Governor Murphy trumpeted the reopening of outdoor dining establishments effective June 15th this week, but for restaurants hoping to make money on liquor, the good news comes with a catch.

Going forward, the state will permit restaurants with preexisting liquor licenses to serve alcohol outside; that includes on decks, patios, decks, parking lots and even sidewalks. The move is being sold as a way to help dining establishments get back on their feet. The required special permit, however, is only good through November 30th and carries a $75 fee.

That’s right: Murphy is hitting up small businesses he’s kept on life support (or worse) since mid-March.

While a $75 fee isn’t big time money, this blatant revenue-grabbing permitting decision is being viewed as added insult to injury for thousands of restaurant owners who have earned little or severely reduced revenue in recent months, relying only on takeout business to remain afloat and being forced to layoff employees in the process.

Not all eateries will still be around on June 15th to take advantage of the permit. Many restaurants – independently owned and chain restaurants, too – have closed for good due to COVID-19. After the initial closure ordered by Governor Murphy, it was estimated that at least 90% of New Jersey restaurant workers were unemployed.