Liability in the age of outdoor dining

On Behalf of | Aug 18, 2020 | Premises Liability Defense |

Restaurant owners face several types of risks during regular service. From food to property, safety is a significant factor when operating a restaurant. However, as restaurant owners get creative to keep their doors open, they must also consider liability with fresh eyes.

As outdoor dining becomes a popular solution for restaurateurs in Staten Island, the transition from indoor dining requires careful attention. In addition to making critical financial decisions in an uncertain time, restaurant and bar owners will face difficult legal decisions as well.

Outdoor dining spaces can pose business risks

Business owners across the food industry must consider several risks, including:

  • Alcohol and licensing issues: Businesses that serve alcohol outdoors may risk losing their liquor license. However, serving alcohol outside is only permissible if the guest orders a menu item that counts as a meal, according to Governor Cuomo.
  • Property hazards: If your establishment did not have a patio area previously, you may be making an entirely new space for patrons. Keep in mind that uneven ground, wet patio floor due to rain, adjacent traffic and sharp fencing could all be dangerous. Even if your outdoor space is temporary, it should be safe for employees and guests.
  • Location requirements: Be attentive to local regulations when preparing an outdoor dining space. There may be restrictions regarding space between tables, barriers dividing traffic lanes and bus blockages.

In addition to crafting a unique experience for guests, it is important to consider their safety and legal protections for your business. A qualified lawyer can help you identify the risks of your particular restaurant or bar.

Although creating a safe environment can be costly, it could still outweigh the costs of a lawsuit. Furthermore, the right legal advice could help you avoid running afoul of ever-changing rules and facing expensive adjustments.

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