Rhode Island Senate approves bills to help restaurant industry

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE)- The State Senate approved two measures today that aim to help the restaurant industry as they continue to face challenges from the pandemic.

The first measure seeks to eliminate the March 1 date that would end the law allowing takeout drinks with their food orders. The measure has found a lot of popularity throughout the state, even getting a push to extend to delivery as well. At this time, the measure is only for takeout drinks.

Senator Gallo, the sponsor of this measure, said,

“Our restaurant industry includes so many treasured small businesses that make Rhode Island the special place that is. They need every available tool to survive the pandemic. Take-out drinks have helped them stay afloat, bring in a little more revenue, and keep paying their employees and supporting our economy.”

“They’ve also been popular with consumers, and have helped entice them to order out more often. Restaurants and consumers have shown that takeout drinks can be handled very responsibly, so we have every reason to make them a permanent feature of our state’s restaurant scene.”

The second measure would continue to allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining during the pandemic. The measure forces a moratorium on the enforcement of zoning requirements and municipal ordinances that would fine owners for modification and alternations of their property. That moratorium would be in effect until April 1, 2023.

Senator DiMario, the sponsor of this measure, released a statement on its approval,

“This bill is essential to our restaurants and bars that are still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic,”

“The legislation will also allow these establishments to apply to make these successful and popular changes permanent, such as the outdoor dining areas and takeout windows. Municipalities have given the feedback that they have not had enough time to get temporary zoning changes through their appropriate channels to make them permanent and that this extension is welcome.”

These bills now move to the House of Representatives for approval.

Categories: News, Politics, Regional News, Rhode Island