GOV. Phil Murphy stopped the supposed reopening of restaurants in the state this week for a few reasons, among them the violations in some restaurants that have opened for Phase 2 a couple of weeks ago soaring infection rates from the states that have reopened across the country.
New Jersey allowed outdoor dining on June 15. Since the lockdown in March, restaurants have only been permitted to provide takeout or delivery services.
Now, opening doors to allow diners to eat inside a restaurant as part of Phase 3 has been scrapped indefinitely. No new reopening date has been announced.
“Given the current situation in numerous other states we do not believe it is prudent at this time to push forward with what is, in effect, a sedentary indoor activity – especially when we know that this virus moves differently indoors than out, making it even more deadly,” Murphy said in his regular press briefing this week.
Mayor Bill de Blasio followed suit and said “now is not the time to forge ahead” and that New York City would also postpone indoor dining indefinitely.
“Indoors is the problem. The science is showing it more and more. We cannot go ahead at this point in time with indoor dining in New York City,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “Even a week ago we were hopeful we could but it keeps getting worse and worse around the country.”
Videos of restaurants in the Jersey Shore area surfaced online and went viral this week, showing large crowds in outdoor dining areas who were not practicing social distancing.
“I get it. By the way, we all get it. There is pent up emotion to get back outside. We all want to be out,” Murphy said. “But there is no reason to be a knucklehead.”
The state had previously provided the details for the eventual reopening of restaurants, including capacity limits at 25% and tables spaced 6 feet apart.
Murphy also cited the spikes in other states brought about by the return of patrons to indoor dining establishments and staying there for significant periods of time without face coverings.
“Keep your distances. Wear your masks. Be smart and courteous – the world just isn’t about you. It’s about all 9 million of us,” he said.