NEW JERSEY (WABC) -- A change from the pandemic is here to stay in New Jersey.
Governor Phil Murphy signed new legislation to extend outdoor dining for the foreseeable future.
Great news for restaurants like Vesta Wood Fired in East Rutherford.
The restaurant has offered outdoor dining in a large tent in the parking lot since the beginning of the pandemic.
The bill that allowed outdoor dining originally was set to expire on November 30, but this new bill extends that time to the end of November 2024.
Governor Murphy signed the bill extension Wednesday afternoon.
While some towns have dismantled outdoor dining, claiming the lost parking spaces have resulted in a loss in revenue for retailers.
Some restaurant owners have said the program has helped them stay in business and that it makes for a much livelier downtown attracting people to the area.
"It's been really advantageous for us, especially because we host a lot of private events and banquets out here, it definitely accelerated our business," restaurant owner Frank Jiampa said.
New Jersey State Senator Paul Sarlo says this might be the last extension of the outdoor program and for now, restaurants are embracing it.
"We are now providing these small business owners around the state of New Jersey with flexibility, flexibility to serve customers inside, flexibility to serve customers outside," New Jersey Senator Paul Sarlo said.
Meanwhile, outdoor dining has been the subject of great debate in New York City in recent weeks.
A new lawsuit filed seeks to end the outdoor dining program.
The suit blames the open restaurant program, for excessive noise, traffic, and garbage.
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