Chapter 003
2024 -- H 7064 SUBSTITUTE A
Enacted 02/09/2024

A N   A C T

Introduced By: Representatives McEntee, Cortvriend, Carson, Diaz, Phillips, Costantino, Shallcross Smith, Vella-Wilkinson, Craven, and Caldwell

Date Introduced: January 05, 2024

It is enacted by the General Assembly as follows:
     SECTION 1. Title 45 of the General Laws entitled "TOWNS AND CITIES" is hereby
amended by adding thereto the following chapter:
     45-24.7-1. Short title.
     This chapter shall be known and may be cited as the "Outdoor Dining Act".
     45-24.7-2. Definitions.
     As used in this chapter, the following words and terms shall have the following meanings:
     (1) "Food service establishment" means any fixed or mobile restaurant, coffee shop,
cafeteria, short-order cafe, luncheonette, grill, tearoom, sandwich shop, soda fountain, tavern, bar,
cocktail lounge, night club, roadside stand, industrial feeding establishment, cultural heritage
education facility, private, public or nonprofit organization or institution routinely serving food,
catering kitchen, commissary or similar place in which food or drink is prepared for sale or for
service on the premises or elsewhere, and any other eating or drinking establishment or operation
where food is served or provided for the public with or without charge.
     (2) "Outdoor dining" means the use of an adjacent, outside area by a food service
establishment for the same eating and drinking activities that occur within the establishment.
     (3) "Outdoor dining area" means any designated area outside the principal building of a
food service establishment which is designed, established, or regularly used for consuming food or
drink. Outdoor dining areas do not include any unenclosed dining area at a private residence.
     (4) “Restaurant” means an eating establishment, including, but not limited to, coffee shops,
cafeterias, and private and public school cafeterias, that give or offer for sale food to the public,
guests, or employees, as well as kitchens and catering facilities in which food is prepared on the
premises for serving elsewhere. The term “restaurant” shall include a bar area within the restaurant.
     45-24.7-3. Outdoor dining compliance.
     (a) A food service establishment that offers outdoor dining shall:
     (1) Comply with all accessibility requirements to which places of public accommodations
are subject; and
     (2) Comply with the Rhode Island food code (216 RICR 50-10-1 et seq.), the Rhode Island
fire safety code (450 RICR 00-00-1 et seq.), and the Rhode Island building code (510 RICR 00-00-
1 et seq.).
     (b) All outdoor dining structures built on private property in compliance with § 45-24-46.5
that have been inspected by February 15, 2025, and found to be in compliance with the Rhode
Island food code (216 RICR 50-10-1 et seq.), the Rhode Island fire safety code (450 RICR 00-00-
1 et seq.), and the Rhode Island building code (510 RICR 00-00-1 et seq.) shall be deemed
approved, and a governmental entity shall not require the removal of any alterations, modifications,
or physical structures compliant with these regulations, and shall not require any retroactive
applications, permits, fees, or approvals of such alterations, modifications, or physical structures.
     45-24.7-4. Municipal regulation of outdoor dining.
     (a) A city or town may adopt ordinances that:
     (1) Limit outdoor dining on public property;
     (2) Limit capacity for outdoor dining; and
     (3) Require barriers for outdoor dining that border parking lots or roadways.
     (b) A city or town shall not:
     (1) Adopt an ordinance prohibiting outdoor dining;
     (2) Adopt an ordinance limiting the time of year when outdoor dining may be offered;
     (3) Restrict the hours of outdoor dining operations inconsistent with the food service
establishment's existing licensure, except between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m.; or
     (4) Require new parking capacity standards on a food service establishment for an outdoor
dining area built in compliance with § 45-24-46.5, in excess of any in existence prior to March 1,
     (c) Nothing in this section shall be construed to:
     (1) Restrict municipal enforcement of noise ordinances; or
     (2) Authorize or entitle a food service establishment to conduct outdoor dining on areas for
which they do not have legal ownership or possession unless explicitly authorized by such
landowner or their authorized representative.
     SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon passage.
LC003431/SUB A