New Jersey bars and restaurants got a break this week, as they were given permission to continue serving you alcoholic drinks outside, through the spring, according to TAPinto Hamilton/Robbinsville.

I'm sure I'm not alone when I say I had no idea that restaurants and bars needed a special permit to serve patrons outside of their own establishments. Don't laugh, but, I thought it was as easy as the server walking outside to give you your drink.

Bars and restaurants has to adapt very quickly to the pandemic restrictions placed on their businesses by New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Some bars and restaurants stayed closed because they had no outdoor space available, but, most worked fast at creating lovely outdoor spaces, so they could continue to operate and make money. The new outdoor dining spaces gave us a sense of freedom, when we were "locked down" and allowed us to have a little fun.

“For many of our residents having the ability to serve liquor to their customers beyond their normal premises has been meaningful. In some cases, life saving [as it has helped] them survive during these challenging times," Governor Murphy said.

At first, The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) extended the liquor license limits and allowed businesses to serve alcohol outside for a $10 fee. But, that extension was due to expire in November. Who knew? Not me. Now, the new outdoor permits are extended through March 2021. Phew. You can still go out and have drinks with your friends for the holidays. Restaurants and bars are now preparing for the colder weather by securing tents and heat lamps.

I applaud all of these area businesses. With pretty much no warning, there are so many really nice outdoor spaces now. I hope they stick around, post pandemic.

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