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From Delivery to Cocktails To-Go, How California’s New Laws Will Change Dining in LA

Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a slew of new legislation that will impact California’s restaurant industry

Governor Gavin Newsom signs SB 796 returning Manhattan Beach land to the Bruce family.
Governor Gavin Newsom signs SB 796, a bill to return Manhattan Beach land to descendants of its original Black owners, the Bruce family, in Manhattan Beach on Thursday, September 30, 2021.
Photo by Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images
Mona Holmes is a reporter for Eater Los Angeles and a regular contributor to KCRW radio. She has covered restaurants, dining, and food culture since 2016. In 2022, the James Beard Foundation nominated her for a Jonathan Gold Local Voice Award.

Every fall, California’s governor signs or vetoes laws that come across their desk. With the swipe of a pen, then Gov. Jerry Brown legitimized street vendors and home-cooks selling goods legally in 2018, while rejecting the late night bar bill that would’ve extended last call for cocktails at bars until 4 a.m.

Over the last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom — fresh off a victory from a potential recall election and navigating a state budget surplus — took his turn by signing a handful of laws concerning restaurants, bars, and nightlife. Below is a roundup of what’s changing in California in the coming year.

State Bill 389 — Cocktails to-go

Newsom signed Senate Bill 389, also known as cocktails to-go last week. Introduced in February, SB 389 bill only extends to-go cocktails through December 31, 2026. All drinks are required to be sold with an actual meal. So if a bar doesn’t serve food, it cannot participate in selling drinks to-go. There’s also a limit to two drinks per meal, so those gigantic cocktail batches available throughout the pandemic are no more, and only limited to pick-up only.

Assembly Bill 286 — Food delivery: purchase prices and tips

In an effort to promote transparency, Assembly Bill 286 requires third-party delivery companies like Doordash and Ubereats must itemize cost and delivery breakdowns to restaurants and customers.

Senate Bill 314 — Alcoholic beverages

To ease restrictions on outdoor dining, Senate Bill 314 makes converted outdoor parklets permanent while making it easier to serve alcohol in them. As reported by Eater SF, SB 314 will run through July 1, 2024. The bill was highly opposed by the California Alcohol Policy Alliance, which had concerns about public safety.

Assembly Bill 61 — Business pandemic relief

The governor also signed companion bill Assembly Bill 61, which eases the process for pop-ups to secure temporary liquor licenses.

Assembly Bill 45 — Industrial hemp products

Assembly Bill 45 went into effect last week. The new law shifts how the hemp-derived and non-psychoactive CBD, or cannabidiol, is manufactured and sold within California. CBD is everywhere right now in consumer products, from drinks to supplements. The most notable change for LA businesses are the new labeling and testing standards, which will be tested by independent labs to ensure clarity for consumers. CBD in cocktails and coffee were commonplace in Los Angeles until Brown outlawed them in 2018. AB 45 could mark a change concerning CBD and how it’s consumed in bars, restaurants, and cafes.

Assembly Bill 1276 — Single-use foodware accessories and standard condiments

California restaurant and food facilities are now prohibited from dispensing “any single-use foodware accessory or standard condiment packaged for single use to a consumer unless the single-use foodware accessory or standard condiment is requested by the consumer,” according to Assembly Bill 1276. So that packet of ketchup or relish? You’ll have to ask for it. Third-party food delivery apps must also comply with this new law. Cities and counties have until June 1, 2022 to initiate the changes. First and second offenses receive a notice of violation, while third and more will be fined $25 per day, with a maximum penalty of $300.