New Jersey will not reopen indoor dining this week as planned in the first major reversal of the state’s Phase 2 coronavirus reopening plan, Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday.
Meal resumes are scheduled to resume on Thursday along with several other major reopening steps, including Atlantic City casinos, amusement parks, boardwalk rides, and game rooms before the busy weekend July 4th.
Murphy cited recent scenes from open-air bars and restaurants that showed crowds who were not wearing masks and ignored social estrangement as a reason to indefinitely pause indoor dining.
Murphy had provided the detailed restrictions on dining in restaurants on Saturday, but changed his mind just two days later. The restrictions had included 25% capacity limits, tables spaced 6 feet apart, staff face covers, and other rules.
“Given the current situation in many other states, we do not believe it is wise at this time to go ahead with what is, in effect, a sedentary activity indoors, especially when we know that this virus moves differently indoors than in the outside, making it even more deadly, “Murphy said Monday at his regular COVID-19 briefing.
“We have seen spikes in other states driven, in part, by the return of customers to indoor dining establishments, where they are sitting and not covering their faces, for significant periods of time,” he said. “We also feel driven to take this step because of what we’ve seen in some establishments across the state in recent times.”
Murphy added: “Overcrowding. A complete disregard for social distancing. Very few, if any, facial coatings.
New Jersey reopened its cookouts on June 15 after about three months of allowing restaurants to only provide takeout or delivery food.
But the opening of doors to allow diners to eat inside a restaurant has been scrapped indefinitely.
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The change comes after a few restaurants and bars have made headlines and videos of crowded open-air bars and restaurants, including last weekend at Jersey Shore.
“Now I certainly acknowledge that there are many establishments whose owners, managers, and customers have been held accountable, and who have complied not only with the letter of the guide we have published, but also with the spirit of the community to help protect customers and residents, ”said Murphy.
“But, other scenes cannot continue, and we cannot move forward unless there is complete compliance,” he said. “So, unfortunately, the national situation, compounded by instances of silly behavior here at home, forces us to stop at restarting meals indoors for the foreseeable future.”
Murphy warned people last week that the administration would crack down on breaches of the security guidelines after the first round of viral videos appeared from the Jersey shore and other places filled with bars showing large masked crowds in dining rooms. recently opened.
“I get it. By the way, we all understand it. There’s built-up excitement to get back out. We all want to be out,” Murphy said at a COVID-19 briefing last week. “But there’s no reason to be a fool. Keep your distances. Wear your masks. Be smart and courteous: the world is not just about you. It is about the 9 million of us. “
DJais Bar and Grill in Belmar received a warning after images over the weekend showed customers standing or dancing together without masks. And the Tashmoo restaurant and bar in Morristown had its license to eat outside revoked for cluttering the patio.
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