Deschambault bill to boost restaurant industry receives unanimous Committee support

Posted: January 24, 2018 | Senator Deschambault

A bill by Sen. Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford, to allow businesses to expand and sell alcohol to customers in non-contiguous spaces, such as on sidewalks, received unanimous support from the Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee on Wednesday.

LD 1738, “An Act To Permit the Sale and Consumption of Alcohol in an Area That Is Not Contiguous to Licensed Premises,” would empower municipalities to pass ordinances to allow restaurants to expand their capacity by adding serving sections that aren’t directly adjacent to the restaurant itself.

“This bill will help restaurants who want to expand to outdoor spaces that aren’t immediately attached to their indoor, brick-and-mortar space in Maine’s beautiful summer months,” said Sen. Deschambault. “I’m pleased that the members of the Committee saw the economic growth potential in this commonsense bill.”

Under current law, alcohol cannot be carried by wait staff from the restaurant to tables in a non-contiguous space that is separated by public property. LD 1738 would allow for this, should a municipality opt-in to allowing it.

Maine’s restaurant industry is heavily affected by seasonal demands, with many restaurants doing the bulk of their business during the busy summer, tourist season. Those busy days make up for the sometimes slower pace of restaurant traffic during snowy winter days. Outdoor spaces like patios help restaurants expand their footprint, bring in more customers, and hire more wait staff.

LD 1738 heads to the Senate for initial votes in the coming weeks.