Sen. Deschambault introduces legislation to support restaurant industry

Posted: October 24, 2017 | Senator Deschambault
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Sen. Susan Deschambault, D-Biddeford, has introduced legislation to allow businesses to expand and sell alcohol to customers in expanded spaces, such as on sidewalks or in parking spaces.

In Maine, where the restaurant industry is affected by seasonal demand, restaurateurs often seek to expand their capacity during the busier, warmer months. For many restaurants, that means opening additional seating outdoors, including on sidewalks or in parking spaces owned by the restaurants. However, current law prevents those restaurants from serving alcohol at those tables that occupy space “non-contiguous” with the restaurant itself.

A concerned constituent brought the issue to Sen. Deschambault’s attention, which prompted the senator to propose legislation to allow cities and towns to adopt ordinances to allow restaurants to serve alcohol at outdoor seating that isn’t directly adjacent to the restaurant footprint. Under this bill, a town could allow restaurants to put tables in parking spots out front of the restaurant, even if a sidewalk separates those parking spots from the restaurant, and waiters would be allowed to carry alcohol across that public sidewalk to diners at those tables.

“This bill will allow restaurants to expand their business during the busy summer season,” said Sen. Deschambault. “More and more people are eating meals out these days and we should help our local restaurants capture that potential business.”

This year, for the first time, the US Department of Agriculture found that Americans spent more money eating out than they spent on food at home.