As restaurants mark the first day since March 16 that they have been permitted to offer any indoor dining, Gov. Phil Murphy today warned that his administration will “not tolerate any violations, and we will not be afraid to come down hard and make an example of those who think the rules don’t apply to them” regarding indoor dining health guidelines such as limiting capacity to 25%.
Murphy added, “There is nothing more I would like – nor I suspect my colleagues would like to do – than to eventually expand restaurant capacities. But, I cannot do that – and we will not be able to do that – if, this weekend, or in the weeks that follow, we see a slew of restaurant owners and managers flagrantly violating the rules that are in place.”
All of New Jersey’s restaurants were shut down on March 16 except for takeout and delivery, and beginning on June 15, outdoor dining was permitted.
The overall restrictions caused 35% of the state’s nearly 25,000 eateries to close down completely and it is unknown how many will never reopen, the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association’s President and CEO Marilou Halvorsen told New Jersey Business this past Monday.
Murphy also said today, “And for as much pain as this pandemic of six months has put on restaurant owners, and on gyms – to pick two categories – the overwhelming amount of the owners and managers and proprietors have been doing the right thing. So, let’s all work together for a safe return of indoor dining, and we can ensure that there will be better days, ahead.”
The Murphy administration also issued an administrative action today banning smoking at indoor casinos, with the governor saying, “We have looked closely at the science and agree with the experts who have concluded that allowing smoking is too big a risk to take.”
There were 478 new COVID-19 cases reported statewide today, with a spot positivity rate of 1.81%, and a statewide rate of transmission of 1.03. Cumulative COVID-19 totals since March 4 are 193,422 cases, and confirmed fatalities stand at 14,195.
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