Alabama House just passed Bill 235—a bill allowing owners to bring their pet dogs with them to restaurants with outdoor dining. The bill is on its way to the Senate. Keep reading to find out more on what this means for you and your dog.
What is Bill 235?
Bill 235 seeks to permit pet dogs in outdoor dining areas of food establishments under certain conditions. The vote on this legislature passed eighty-eight to eight. Obviously, the remaining question is what are the conditions? Here is what we found.
For owners of pet dogs
Pet dogs may join their owners on outdoor patios under the following conditions:
- Pet dog must be on a leash or in a carrier and under control of the owner at all times.
- Owner of the pet dog is liable for any damages to the property of the food service establishment caused by the pet dog.
- Pet dogs are not allowed on the any of the restaurant’s outdoor dining furniture.
For owners of food establishments
Owners of food establishments may allow pet dogs if the follow conditions are met:
- Owner of the food establishment must elect to allow dogs at in their outdoor dining and apply for a waiver from the State Health Department.
- Employees of establishment must abstain from petting the dogs and must wash hands if contact with the pet dog is made.
- Outdoor dining area must be at least twelve feet away from any bar where drinks are made.
- Outdoor dining area must be cleaned and sanitized and maintain that level of cleanliness.
- Restaurants must have a separate outdoor entrance that the dogs can come through that does not enter the food establishment.
What is most significant about this bill is that restaurants can allow customers to bring their dogs to outdoor dining area without worrying about repercussions from the health department. Previously, bringing pet dogs to outdoor dining areas would result in marks off the establishment’s health score.
This is only one hurdle. Now, on to the Alabama Senate. If the legislation passes, dogs will officially be welcomed at outdoor patios.