Bill Text: NJ A5135 | 2020-2021 | Regular Session | Introduced


Bill Title: Allows continued use of heaters and tents by food or beverage establishments under certain circumstances during coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.*

Spectrum: Partisan Bill (Democrat 5-0)

Status: (Introduced) 2021-01-13 - Reported from Assembly Comm. as a Substitute, 2nd Reading [A5135 Detail]

Download: New_Jersey-2020-A5135-Introduced.html

ASSEMBLY, No. 5135

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

219th LEGISLATURE

 

INTRODUCED DECEMBER 10, 2020

 


 

Sponsored by:

Assemblyman  LOUIS D. GREENWALD

District 6 (Burlington and Camden)

 

 

 

 

SYNOPSIS

     Establishes Statewide standards for the use of heaters and tents by restaurants during COVID-19 public health emergency.

 

CURRENT VERSION OF TEXT

     As introduced.

  


An Act establishing Statewide standards for the use of heaters and tents by restaurants during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

 

     Be It Enacted by the Senate and General Assembly of the State of New Jersey:

 

     1.    During the period in which the State's public health emergency in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is in effect, initially declared by the Governor pursuant to Executive Order No. 103 of 2020 and subsequently extended, the standards and requirements for the use of tents and heaters by restaurants established in this act shall be in effect.  The standards and requirements shall be applicable to the use by the owner or operator of a restaurant intending to use a heat source inside an enclosed, outdoor temporary dining tent.  A municipality shall not establish and enforce any standards or requirements  that are more restrictive than the standards established in this act; however, a municipality may establish or enforce less-restrictive, or alternative, standards than those established in this act only if those standards adequately and effectively protect the health and safety of restaurant patrons, restaurant employees, and the general public.

 

     2.    The owner or operator of a restaurant that intends to offer service to customers under heated outdoor temporary dining tents during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency shall file an application with the fire official of the municipality in which the restaurant is located.  No municipality shall charge a fee to the owner or operator of a restaurant related to such an application.  The fire official shall approve the application after a review of the application and evidence from the restaurant owner or operator that the equipment intended to be used, and the plan for the use of a heated tent comply with the requirements of this act.

 

     3.    Each outdoor temporary dining tent, and heating source intended to be used inside the tent, shall meet the following standards:

     a.     A tent shall  be constructed of fire-retardant material, and documentation attesting to this standard shall be submitted with the application required in section 2 of this act;

     b.    No cooking or warming of food shall be performed under a tent;

     c.     At least one fire extinguisher shall be present inside the tent at all times, and shall be placed in an area that is easily accessible;

     d.    There shall be a minimum clearance of five feet between an open flame and any combustible material;

     e.     All heating units shall be placed on a stable base;

     f.     If an electric heater is to be used, there shall be a minimum clearance of five feet between the heater and any combustible material;

     g.    If a generator is to be used as a power source for a heater, the generator shall not be located within the tent or within five feet of the tent, and shall not be refueled if the generator is hot; and

     h.    An enclosed tent with heating devices inside shall have prominently marked entrances and exits.

 

     4.    In addition to the standards set forth in section 3 of this act, the owner or operator of a restaurant shall be responsible for taking the following actions to ensure the safe use of heaters inside tents during the period that this act is in effect:

     a.     Ensuring the safe storage of propane or other fuels at all times;

     b.    Ensuring that heaters and fuels are unplugged or turned off, and safely stored overnight; and

     c.     Providing, or arranging for, training for all employees on how to install fuel or fuel sources, and how to detect a fuel leak.

 

     5.    In addition to the standards set forth in section 3 of this act and the safety requirements for owners and operators of restaurants required in section 4 of this act, if a restaurant has located a tent having a heat source on a public street or in a public parking lot and there is a substantial possibility that a vehicle may impact the tent, the owner or operator of a restaurant shall take reasonable precautions to prevent a vehicle impact with the tent, including but not limited to the installation of  a vehicle impact protection system around the perimeter of the tent.

 

     6.    The Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs shall, within 14 days of the effective date of this act, promulgate emergency rules and regulations as necessary to effectuate the provisions of this act.  The Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs shall readopt or amend the emergency rules and regulations pursuant to the "Administrative Procedure Act," P.L.1968, c.410 (C.52:14B-1 et seq.).

 

     7.    This act shall take effect immediately and shall expire on January 1, 2023.

 

 

STATEMENT

 

     This bill would establish State wide standards and rules for the use of heaters and tents by restaurants during the COVID-19 public health emergency.

     The bill requires the owner or operator of a restaurant that intends to offer service to customers under heated tents during the COVID-19 pandemic public health emergency to file an application with the fire official of the municipality in which the restaurant is located.  The fire official shall approve the application after a review of the application and evidence from the restaurant owner or operator that the equipment intended to be used, and the plan for the use of a heated tent comply with the bill's requirements.

     Each tent, and heating source intended to be used inside the tent, shall meet the following standards:

     (1)   A tent is required to be constructed of fire-retardant material, and documentation attesting to this standard shall be submitted with the application required in section 2 of this act;

     (2)   No cooking or warming of food shall be performed under a tent;

     (3)   At least one fire extinguisher shall be present inside the tent at all times, and shall be placed in an area that is easily accessible;

     (4)   There shall be a minimum clearance of five feet between an open flame and any combustible material;

     (5)   All heating units shall be placed on a stable base;

     (6)   If an electric heater is to be used, there shall be a minimum clearance of five feet between the heater and any combustible material;

     (7)   If a generator is to be used as a power source for a heater, the generator shall not be located within the tent or within five feet of the tent, and shall not be fueled if it is hot; and

     (8)   An enclosed tent having heating devices inside shall have prominently marked entrances and exits.

     The bill also requires that the owner or operator of a restaurant shall be responsible for taking the following actions to ensure the safe use of heaters inside tents during the period that this act is in effect:

     (1)   Ensuring the safe storage of propane or other fuels at all times;

     (2)   Ensuring that heaters and fuels are unplugged or turned off, and safely stored overnight; and

     (3)   Providing, or arranging for, training for all employees on how to install fuel or fuel sources and how to detect a fuel leak.

     The bill also requires that if a restaurant has located a tent having a heat source on a public street or in a public parking lot and there is a substantial possibility that a vehicle may impact the tent, the owner or operator of a restaurant shall take reasonable precautions to prevent a vehicle impact with the tent, including but not limited to the installation of a vehicle impact protection system around the perimeter of the tent.

     The bill requires the Division of Fiore Safety in the Department of Community Affairs to promulgate emergency rules and regulations as necessary to effectuate the provisions of the bill, and allows the division to readopt or amend those emergency rules.

     It is anticipated that these requirements and standards will allow restaurants to continue to serve patrons through the cold fall, winter, and early spring months.

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