ASSEMBLY, No. 5135






Sponsored by:


District 6 (Burlington and Camden)


District 18 (Middlesex)

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)


Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Chiaravalloti, Benson, Moen, Mazzeo, Assemblywoman Pintor Marin, Assemblymen Catalano, McGuckin, Assemblywoman Lampitt, Assemblymen Thomson, Dancer, Freiman, Assemblywomen Vainieri Huttle, Downey, Assemblyman Houghtaling, Assemblywomen DiMaso, Jimenez, Timberlake, Schepisi, Assemblyman Space and Assemblywoman Swain






     Allows continued use of heaters and tents by food or beverage establishments under certain circumstances during coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.



     Substitute as adopted by the Assembly Commerce and Economic Development Committee.





An Act establishing Statewide standards for the use of heaters and tents by food and beverage establishments during the COVID-19 public health emergency.


     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:


     1.  As used in this act, “food or beverage establishment” means and includes a restaurant, cafeteria, dining establishment and food court, with or without a liquor license, as well as a bar, and any other holder of a liquor license with retail consumption privileges.


     2.    During the period in which the State’s public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is in effect, initially declared by the Governor pursuant to Executive Order No. 103 of 2020 and subsequently extended, the standards and requirements for the use of tents and heaters by food or beverage establishments established in this act shall be in effect.  The standards and requirements shall be applicable to the use by the owner or operator of a food or beverage establishment intending to use a heat source inside an enclosed, outdoor temporary dining tent.  A municipality shall not establish and enforce any standards or requirements that are more restrictive than the standards established in this act; however, a municipality may establish or enforce less-restrictive, or alternative, standards than those established in this act only if those standards adequately and effectively protect the health and safety of patrons and employees of food or beverage establishments and the general public.


     3  The owner or operator of a food or beverage establishment that intends to offer service to customers under heated outdoor temporary dining tents during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency shall file an application with the fire official of the municipality in which the food or beverage establishment is located.  No municipality shall charge a fee to the owner or operator of a food or beverage establishment related to such an application.  The fire official shall approve the application after a review of the application and evidence from the owner or operator of the food or beverage establishment that the equipment intended to be used, and the plan for the use of a heated tent comply with the requirements of this act.


     4.    Each outdoor temporary dining tent, and heating source intended to be used inside the tent, shall meet the following standards:

     a.     A tent shall  be constructed of fire-retardant material, and documentation attesting to this standard shall be submitted with the application required in section 3 of this act;

     b.    No cooking or warming of food shall be performed under a tent;

     c.     At least one fire extinguisher shall be present inside the tent at all times, and shall be placed in an area that is easily accessible;

     d.    There shall be a minimum clearance of five feet between an open flame and any combustible material;

     e.     All heating units shall be placed on a stable base;

     f.     If an electric heater is to be used, there shall be a minimum clearance of five feet between the heater and any combustible material;

     g.    If a generator is to be used as a power source for a heater, the generator shall not be located within the tent or within five feet of the tent, and shall not be refueled if the generator is hot; and

     h.    An enclosed tent with heating devices inside shall have prominently marked entrances and exits.


     5.    In addition to the standards set forth in section 4 of this act, the owner or operator of a food or beverage establishment shall be responsible for taking the following actions to ensure the safe use of heaters inside tents during the period that this act is in effect:

     a.     Ensuring the safe storage of propane or other fuels at all times;

     b.    Ensuring that heaters and fuels are unplugged or turned off, and safely stored overnight; and

     c.     Providing, or arranging for, training for all employees on how to install fuel or fuel sources, and how to detect a fuel leak.


     6.    In addition to the standards set forth in section 4 of this act and the safety requirements for owners and operators of food or beverage establishments required in section 5 of this act, if a food or beverage establishment has located a tent having a heat source on a public street or in a public parking lot and there is a substantial possibility that a vehicle may impact the tent, the owner or operator of the establishment shall take reasonable precautions to prevent a vehicle impact with the tent, including but not limited to the installation of a vehicle impact protection system around the perimeter of the tent.


     7.    The Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs shall, within 14 days of the effective date of this act, promulgate emergency rules and regulations as necessary to effectuate the provisions of this act.  The Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs shall readopt or amend the emergency rules and regulations pursuant to the “Administrative Procedure Act,” P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).


     8.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire on the later of:

     (1)  the date of expiration, termination, or rescission of any and all executive or administrative orders issued by the Governor or Commissioner of Health establishing coronavirus-related occupancy or customer seating restrictions applicable to for food or beverage establishments, or

     (2)  the first day of the seventh month following the date on which the Governor declares that the state of emergency has ended.