On October 8, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 61 by Assemblyman Jesse Gabriel (D-Woodland Hills), to provide business pandemic relief.
Section One of the bill adds Section 25750.5 to the Business and Professions Code to provide for a period of 365 days following the end of California’s state of emergency for the pandemic that the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (DABC) may permit licensees to exercise privileges in an expanded license area. The state of emergency was first issued by Governor Newsom on March 4, 2020 in response to COVID-19.
The expanded license area is authorized by a COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization approved in accordance with the Fourth Notice of Regulatory Relief issued by the DABC on May 15, 2020. A COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization authorizes the on-sale consumption of those alcoholic beverages for which the licensee has on-sale privileges on property that is adjacent to the licensed premises and that are under the control of the licensee.
Pursuant to this new law, the DABC may extend the period of time during which the COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization is valid beyond 365 days if the licensee has filed a pending application with the DABC for the permanent expansion of their premises before the 365-day time period expires.
The COVID-19 Temporary Catering Authorization is still subject to cancellation by the DABC on several grounds, such as objection by local law enforcement or if operation of the temporarily authorized area is inconsistent with state or local public health directives. In addition, if the DABC determines that any licensee is found to be abusing the relief provided by this law, or if the licensee’s actions jeopardize public health, safety, or welfare, the DABC may summarily rescind the relief as to that licensee at any time.
Finally, this new section of law remains in effect through July 1, 2024 and thereafter is repealed. This provision of law, contained in Section One of the bill, takes effect on the date the Governor signed the bill (October 8) as it is subject to an urgency clause.
Section Two of the bill adds Section 65907 to the Government Code to specify that, to the extent that an outdoor expansion of a business to mitigate COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on indoor dining interferes with, reduces, eliminates, or impacts required parking for existing uses, a local jurisdiction that has not adopted an ordinance that provides relief from parking restrictions for expanded outdoor dining areas must reduce the number of required parking spaces for existing uses by the number of spaces that the local jurisdiction determines are needed to accommodate an expanded outdoor dining area.
This new section of law, contained in Section Two of the bill, is effective January 1, 2022 and remains in effect until January 1, 2024 and is thereafter repealed.
Section Three of the bill amends Section 114067 of the Health and Safety Code to provide that a permitted food facility within any local jurisdiction that is subject to retail food operation restrictions related to a COVID-19 public health response may prepare and serve food as a temporary satellite food service without obtaining a separate satellite food service permit or submitting written operating procedures. However, the written operating procedures must be maintained onsite for review, upon request, by the local jurisdiction.
This new section of law, contained in Section Three of the bill, remains in effect for one year following the end of the state of emergency or until January 1, 2024, whichever occurs first.
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