ASSEMBLY, No. 5136






Sponsored by:


District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

Assemblyman  GORDON M. JOHNSON

District 37 (Bergen)


District 31 (Hudson)


Co-Sponsored by:

Assemblymen Benson, Moen, Mazzeo, McGuckin, Assemblywoman Pintor Marin, Assemblymen Catalano, Thomson, Assemblywoman Quijano, Assemblyman Dancer, Assemblywomen Jimenez, Timberlake, Assemblyman Houghtaling, Assemblywomen Downey, Vainieri Huttle, Assemblymen Freiman, Tully and Assemblywoman Swain






     Includes use of physical barriers as social distancing measure for food or beverage establishments during coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.



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





An Act concerning restaurant safety during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.


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


     1.    Restaurants, cafeterias, dining establishments, and food courts, with or without a liquor license, bars, and all other holders of a liquor license with retail consumption privileges, collectively referred to as “food or beverage establishments,” may offer in-person service at indoor areas, provided that the establishment complies with the requirements of this section. In order to offer in-person service in an indoor area, a food or beverage establishment shall:

     a.     Limit the number of patrons in indoor areas to the capacity limit established pursuant to Executive Order No. 183 or any subsequent Executive Order or law concerning the capacity limits of food or beverage establishments during the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic, excluding the food or beverage establishment’s employees;

     b.    (1)  Ensure that tables where individuals or groups are seated are six feet apart in all directions from any other table or seat and that individual seats in any shared area that is not reserved for individual groups, such as an indoor bar area, are also six feet apart in all directions from any other table or seat, or;

     (2)   if six feet of distance is not feasible, ensure that a seating area be separated by a physical barrier to minimize contact: physical barrier options include plexiglass or other non-porous dividers or partitions, the barriers shall be between five and six feet high, shall not be within 18 inches of a sprinkler head or block emergency or fire exits, and shall not restrict airflow throughout the restaurant;

     c.     Require indoor patrons to wear face coverings while inside the indoor premises of the food or beverage establishment, until their food or drinks arrive and after individuals have finished consuming their food or drinks, unless the patron has a medical reason for not wearing a face covering or is a child under two years of age;

     d. Only allow patrons to place orders at a food or beverage establishment's counter if plastic barriers are in place and social distancing measures are implemented pursuant to this act, otherwise, only allow patrons to place orders for indoor table service when they are seated at a table or bar, and require wait staff or other employees to bring food or beverages to seated patrons;

     e.     Only allow patrons to consume food or beverages while seated; and

     f.     Abide by all other health and safety standards issued by the Commissioner of the Department of Health consistent with her authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act, including infection control practices and other sanitation protocols.

     Nothing in this act shall be construed as superseding any provision of the code promulgated by the Commissioner of Community Affairs pursuant to authority of the "Uniform Fire Safety Act," P.L.1983, c.383 (C.52:27D-192 et seq.).


     2.    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 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.