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Murphy Cancels Indoor Dining Plans for ‘Foreseeable Future’

Although indoor dining at New Jersey restaurants and bars was slated to resume this Thursday, Gov. Phil Murphy canceled those plans via an announcement at today’s state press conference, postponing indoor dining “for the foreseeable future.”

“Given the current situation in 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.

He added, “We have seen [COVID-19] spikes in other states, driven in part by the return of patrons to indoor dining establishments where they are seated and without face coverings for significant periods of time. We do not wish to see New Jersey experience a similar spike.”

Murphy also complained about some individual restaurants in New Jersey where – in outdoor dining settings – he said there was “overcrowding,” a “complete disregard for social distancing,” and people with “very few if any face coverings.”

“Now, we certainly recognize that there are many more establishments whose owners, managers and customers have been responsible, and who have lived up to not just the letter of the [public health] guidance we have released, but the spirit of community, and helping to protect patrons and residents,” Murphy said. “But, other scenes cannot continue, and we cannot move forward unless there is complete compliance.”

Murphy said at one point during the press conference that indoor dining would resume “at a later date, to be determined” and – at another – that it was canceled for the “foreseeable future.”

No additional timeline data was immediately available.

Separately, Murphy urged residents to exercise caution at outdoor graduation ceremonies, which are set to resume on Monday, July 6.

“No one who has traveled through a COVID-19 hotspot – whether a student or a family member – should be participating in, or attending, a graduation ceremony,” Murphy said.

New Jersey’s statewide COVID-19 rate of transmission now sits at .86, and there are 978 hospitalized patients. There were 45 new COVID-19 hospital admissions yesterday, and 70 patients were discharged. There were also 18 new fatalities announced today.

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