“Under our revised plan, indoor dining will now be restarted to resume at a later date to be determined,” Governor Phil Murphy said at a news conference Monday afternoon. He added that the state does not want to experience spikes similar to what has been happening in the United States, and said “it is not a joy” to do this.
Murphy, in particular, cited cases in some establishments across his state, including “overcrowding” and “utter disregard for social estrangement,” as well as “very few, if any, covering the face.” The “national situation aggravated by instances of silly behavior here in the home forces us to stop at restarting meals indoors for the foreseeable future.”
Facial covers, such as surgical or fabric masks, are required when indoors in public in the state, and companies may deny service to anyone who does not wear them.
More than half of all states are seeing an increase in cases, and Florida, Texas and Arizona are being particularly affected. Texas has begun reducing its reopening, and Florida’s beaches have closed for the upcoming holiday weekend.
“We have been through hell in this state to get to where we are,” Governor Murphy said Monday.
“Frankly, I never thought I would say these words; if I could build a wall around us or around our region, I would do it,” added the Democrat. “But we cannot, so we have to trust personal responsibility and correct behavior, common sense for the common good.”
Last week, when asked about the scenes of large gatherings along the Jersey shore over the past weekend and whether officials would step up the app, Murphy said he had had private conversations with his team on that topic and “We are going to have to squeeze.”
“People should know that we can’t look the other way,” he said, noting that there were “too many viral videos” for his liking.
The governor did not provide further details, suggesting he would return with more at a later date. He repeatedly emphasized that most residents have been “amazing” when it comes to compliance.
Additional reports by Jamie Ehrlich, Elizabeth Hartfield, Christina Maxouris and Eric Levenson