Phil Murphy

Closed Restaurants/Bars ‘Not a Life Sentence,’ Murphy Says

While indoor dining at restaurants is to remain closed in New Jersey, tomorrow will nonetheless usher in the reopening of the state’s casinos, outdoor amusement parks and water parks, museums, libraries, indoor recreation (e.g., bowling alleys, batting cages, shooting ranges and arcades) and individualized, appointment-only training at gyms and fitness centers.

Restaurants and bars have not only been financially hit by their initial shuttering in March, but many had spent funds in anticipation of reopening tomorrow – until those plans were canceled on Monday by Gov. Phil Murphy.

When Murphy reversed the reopening, he cited rising COVID-19 cases in other states, the sedentary nature of indoor dining without face coverings, as well as outdoor dining establishments in New Jersey that were not adhering to public health protocols. Murphy also said today that New York City and Philadelphia are not offering indoor dining, either, at this time.

“Indoor environments where it is impossible to wear masks, or where customers are sedentary for long periods of time without face coverings, such as gyms and bars and restaurants, remain the most dangerous in terms of transmission,” Murphy said today. “We will get there. As I have said many times before, this is not a life sentence. We will get there, but we will get there based on the data and health metrics.”

Murphy did not immediately say what type of public health metrics would be requisite for actually reopening indoor dining.

New Jersey’s statewide coronavirus rate of transmission is .82, and only three counties have a rate of transmission greater than 1, Murphy said. COVID-19 hospitalizations were 1,080 yesterday, with 54 new hospital admissions; 87 live patients were discharged. There were 45 new COVID-19 fatalities announced today.

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