Senator Wiener’s Bill To Activate Public Spaces as Entertainment Zones & Allow Local Businesses to Participate Passes Senate Governmental Organization Committee

April 25, 2023

SACRAMENTO – The Senate Governmental Organization Committee passed Senator Scott Wiener’s (D-San Francisco) bill SB 76, The Entertainment Zones Act. The bill authorizes cities to create “Entertainment Zones” in public spaces and aids the recovery of brick-and-mortar restaurants and bars by removing barriers to their participation in outdoor events like street fairs and festivals. SB 76 passed 14-0, with bipartisan support, and now heads to the Appropriations Committee

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of our economy, and we need to take common sense steps to help them recover,” said Senator Wiener. “We also need to activate public spaces as our downtowns and neighborhoods recover from the pandemic. It makes no sense to allow outside vendors to come into a neighborhood to sell to-go drinks during a street fair while banning brick-and-mortar businesses from doing the same. This overdue reform makes our communities more vibrant and opens new sources of revenue at a time our small businesses badly need it.”

Under current law, licensed businesses may come in from outside a neighborhood to set up booths to sell alcoholic beverages to-go during a street fair or festival, but neighboring restaurants and bars are forbidden from doing the same. SB 76 would allow municipalities to designate temporary Entertainment Zones in which brick-and-mortar bars and restaurants could sell alcohol to-go on equal footing with the festival’s licensed vendors.

SB 76 is sponsored by the National Independent Venue Association of California, the California Nightlife Association, and the Bay Area Council. Read more about SB 76 here.