Governor Newsom Signs COVID-19 Recovery Package to Support Businesses, Continue Successful Pandemic Adaptations

AB 61 and SB 314 extend outdoor dining operations expanded as part of pandemic regulatory reliefSB 389 authorizes continued sale of to-go alcoholic drinks

California Comeback Plan’s unprecedented small business support includes $4 billion relief grant program and $6.2 billion in tax relief

Additional measures fortify pandemic preparedness by increasing state’s vaccination and testing capacity

OAKLAND – Moving to support California’s nation-leading recovery, Governor Gavin Newsom today signed legislation building on the state’s successful pandemic adaptations and unprecedented supports for hard-hit small businesses, including measures that allow restaurants to continue benefiting from the sale of to-go alcoholic drinks and expanded outdoor dining opportunities.

“These innovative strategies have been a lifeline for hard-hit restaurants during the pandemic and today, we’re keeping the entrepreneurial spirit going so that businesses can continue to create exciting new opportunities and support vibrant neighborhoods across the state,” said Governor Newsom, who signed the legislation at an Oakland restaurant today. “California will continue putting into practice the lessons learned over the pandemic to support our ongoing recovery and bolster our capacity to meet future challenges head-on.”

The Administration took action during the pandemic to enable restaurants and bars to expand outdoor operations in areas such as sidewalks and parking lots. AB 61 by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) and SB 314 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) give businesses that temporarily expanded their premises under this regulatory relief a one-year grace period after the end of the emergency to apply for permanent expansion. In announcing the extended regulatory relief in June, Governor Newsom urged local governments to facilitate outdoor dining through local zoning and programs that support and promote expanded open-air, take-out and delivery options.

Governor Newsom signs COVID-19 recovery legislation at Oakland restaurant.

“Neighborhood restaurants are the backbone of communities across California, but too many are barely hanging on by a thread,” said Assemblymember Gabriel. “Outdoor dining has been a critical lifeline that has helped these establishments keep their doors open during these challenging times. AB 61 provides important flexibility so that restaurants can safely expand outdoor dining and continue to serve the communities they call home. I applaud Governor Newsom for his thoughtful leadership in protecting both public health and small businesses as we continue to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

“Outdoor dining is a popular and successful pandemic-era change that small businesses across the state – and their patrons – are passionate about keeping,” said Senator Wiener. “SB 314 ensures the public can continue to enjoy outdoor dining with alcohol and that our small neighborhood businesses can continue to benefit from this change. The hospitality industry has been hit hard by the pandemic, and it’s important we make changes to modernize our entertainment and hospitality laws to allow them more flexibility and more ways to safely serve customers. I’m thrilled this legislation is now the law, and I want to thank Governor Newsom for standing with small businesses.”

SB 389 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) allows restaurants, bars, breweries and wineries that sell food to offer to-go alcoholic beverages with food orders through December 31, 2026. The legislation builds on Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control regulatory relief announced by the Governor in June that extended the sale of to-go alcoholic beverages with food deliveries through the end of the year. A signing message for SB 389 can be found here.

“This is an important step toward helping our restaurants, which have been hit hard by the pandemic,” said Senator Dodd. “It will ensure their recovery, protecting jobs and our economy. I thank Gov. Newsom for supporting this new law.”

Throughout the pandemic, Governor Newsom has taken swift action to deliver relief to small businesses, including a $4 billion investment creating the largest small business relief grant program in the nation; $6.2 billion in tax relief for small businesses that received Paycheck Protection Program loans; and license renewal fee waivers for heavily impacted businesses like restaurants and barber shops.

“Governor Newsom’s leadership at the outset of the pandemic, including ABC’s regulatory relief has been critical for so many neighborhood restaurants still trying to hang on,” said California Restaurant Association CEO and President Jot Condie. “Assemblymember Gabriel (AB 61) and Senators Dodd (SB 389) and Wiener (SB 314) have provided the legislative leadership to help California and caterers remain nimble in terms of additional options to safely serve the public. The road to restaurant recovery will be a very long one and the importance of these measures taken together will remain a critical part of helping restaurants get back on their feet, reemploy massive numbers of Californians, and continue to safely serve the public.”

Bolstering the state’s pandemic preparedness, the Governor today signed additional measures that broaden the services various health care professionals can provide patients, including bills that allow optometrists, dentists and podiatrists to administer COVID-19 vaccinations and testing and legislation authorizing pharmacists to administer a wider array of vaccinations and testing. The legislation builds on emergency action taken by the state to expand the health care workforce supporting the state’s pandemic response.

A full list of today’s bills is below:

  • AB 61 by Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel (D-Encino) – Business pandemic relief.
  • AB 407 by Assemblymember Rudy Salas (D-Bakersfield) – Optometry: assistants and scope of practice.
  • AB 526 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa) – Dentists and podiatrists: clinical laboratories and vaccines.
  • AB 691 by Assemblymember Ed Chau (D-Arcadia) – Optometry: SARS-CoV-2 vaccinations: SARS-CoV-2 clinical laboratory tests or examinations.
  • AB 1064 by Assemblymember Vince Fong (R-Bakersfield) – Pharmacy practice: vaccines: independent initiation and administration.
  • SB 314 by Senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) – Alcoholic beverages.
  • SB 389 by Senator Bill Dodd (D-Napa) – Alcoholic beverages: retail on-sale license: off-sale privileges.

In addition, the Governor previously signed SB 409 by Senator Anna Caballero (D-Salinas) – Pharmacy practice: testing.

For full text of the bills, visit: