Jersey Shore businesses urge Christie to sign bill to extend seasonal liquor licenses

There is a push among Jersey Shore businesses to urge Gov. Chris Christie to approve a bill that would extend seasonal liquor licenses in the community.

The bill would allow businesses with seasonal liquor licenses to begin serving alcohol 60 days earlier, in time for St. Patrick's Day festivities.

Tens of thousands of people are expected in Belmar Sunday for the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade. If the legislation is not approved, popular Jersey Shore bars like D'Jais on Ocean Avenue won't be allowed to serve alcohol. The mayor says it will negatively impact the community.

"It means a big difference in our community," says Mayor Matt Doherty. "Getting these bartenders, bar backs, dishwashers, everyone back to work 60 days earlier than normal makes a dramatic impact financially on their families."

Spring lake hotel Grand Victorian's manager Taylor Perrone says that allowing the hotel's restaurant to sell alcohol earlier would help the hotel as well.

"We have a very small window in which we can actually, what's essentially our yearly profits, so anything we can do to encourage business or to encourage people to come to the area would be a huge benefit for us," Perrone says.

Critics of the bill say that it is unfair to businesses that pay more for a yearlong liquor license.

Gov. Christie signed an executive order for the first three years after Superstorm Sandy to allow an early start to the liquor season in an effort to boost shore businesses hurt by the storm.

About 1,000 people have signed a petition asking him to approve the bill. If approved, businesses with seasonal licenses could begin selling alcohol on March 1.

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