Brick Township is looking to add outdoor dining areas to all their local restaurants this summer.

An ordinance up for a vote later this month would make it easier for restaurants to establish outdoor dining areas by allowing any restaurant owner to apply for a seasonal outdoor dining permit.

Brick Mayor John Ducey said outdoor dining would give restaurants additional seating when they re-open with state regulations like social distancing in place that would otherwise limit how many guests are allowed indoors.

"It's just a way to try and help out our restaurant community because we know that there are still going to be restrictions still in place from the state and we want to help," Ducey told WOBM News. "Those restrictions are going to be based on capacity. So what you do is add an outdoor area to every restaurant that's able to do it and therefore increase their capacity which increases their customers which helps them out financially."

Ducey said the ordinance would also allow restaurants to still abide by any capacity limitations in place by the state without them having to forfeit most of their seating room.

"There's going to defiantly be a capacity limitation by the state. That percentage could be 25-percent or it could be 50-percent but it's not going to any higher than that," Ducey said. "Restaurants would have a very difficult time staying in business if they're only working at 25, 35-percent capacity based upon the staffing needs of cooks, waiters, waitresses, bar tenders, whatever the case may be."

In addition to the ordinance, Ducey said they're also lobbying a case to the A.B.C. to change their outdoor rules.

"We're lobbying very hard for the A.B.C. to change the rules to allow alcoholic beverages outside as well for those who have a liquor license as well as B.Y.O.B. for those who have B.Y.O.B. outside," Ducey said.

Each restaurant interested has to submit a permit application which would then have to be approved by the Brick Township Zoning Officer, Police Department and Fire Marshall.

If it passes the test, the restaurant would have seasonal outdoor dining permit valid for 12-months.

Restaurants who are approved must establish an outdoor dining area and provide details of barriers, spacing between tables, aisles and entrances to area.

They will also be responsible for ensuring furniture is secured, litter is managed, dining area is washed and noise ordinance are adhered to.

Outdoor dining areas will be permitted to operate from 7 am until 10 pm Monday through Thursday and 7 am until 11 pm Friday through Sunday.

The ordinance was approved on the first reading of the agenda on May 12. It will be open for public comment at the May 26 Council meeting. If passed at that point, the ordinance will go into effect 20 days later or perhaps sooner depending on when state regulations are put in place.

"We are looking into an option based on when the state comes down with guidelines of having the ordinance take affect right away on May 27," Ducey said. "We're not sure if we can do that or not, it depends on the state giving out that guidance to restaurants."

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