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State now requires restaurant owners to get permits for outdoor tents during winter months

Restaurant owners who have relied on tents for outdoor seating areas to stay in business during the pandemic are now facing a new rule, and possibly another expense – they must get permits for the tents, which will also have to be ready to take on snow.

News 12 Staff

Dec 2, 2020, 4:16 PM

Updated 1,293 days ago

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Restaurant owners who have relied on tents for outdoor seating areas to stay in business during the pandemic are now facing a new rule, and possibly another expense – they must get permits for the tents, which will also have to be ready to take on snow.
In Belmar, mayor Mark Walsifer tells News 12 the town will be waving it's permit fees, but it's the safety of the tents, and the handling of snow and ice that comes into question. 
“When the ice and snow comes, it's heavy, and that's what our construction officials were worried about,” says Mayor Walsifer.
Walsifer says his construction officials began discussing the safety of using the tents in winter a couple of months ago, long before the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs told restaurant owners that due to winter weather conditions, a UCC PERMIT from the local construction office is required to maintain tents in use past Nov. 30.
“We will probably end up waiving all the fees because of hardships and we're trying to really work with our businesses to keep them going,” says Mayor Walsifer. “We don't want to see anybody go out of business. It's a tough time for everybody."
Waiving the fee with help, but Rasheed Simmons, who owns Simply Southern in Belmar, says he will still have to foot the bill for an architect and engineer to write up a plan for a tent that is bolted to the ground, has been in use for months and has withstood several 50 mph wind storms this summer.
“The main thing is that we get an engineering report from the tent manufacturer for somebody to just take a look at it just to satisfy us that with the heavy snow and ice it's not going to collapse,” says Mayor Walsifer.
Which towns will charge restaurants permit fees will depend on each town’s local government. Belmar doesn't plan too, and East Brunswick says it won't. Asbury Park says they're still looking into it.


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