With the backdrop of a consistently growing number of daily coronavirus cases, and, perhaps more significantly, rising COVID-19 related hospitalizations, Gov. Phil Murphy today announced increased restrictions on indoor dining as well as a ban on interstate travel for youth sports.
“The last thing I want to do is shut our economy back down, and thankfully, we are not at that point,” Murphy said at his bi-weekly COVID-19 press briefing. “We are taking surgical steps that we hope will help mitigate the current increasing rate of spread. No one wants to take the type of broad actions like those we had to take in March. We are acting with more precision.”
Starting Thursday, Nov. 12, all restaurants, bars, clubs and lounges must close indoor dining by 10:00 p.m. and cannot open again until 5:00 a.m. the following day. Outdoor dining, delivery or takeout, however, is allowed to continue past 10:00 p.m.
Murphy noted that the timing restrictions also affect casinos, however, their gaming operations may continue around the clock. After 10:00 p.m., no food or drinks will be available to anyone inside a casino.
Additionally, all “barside seating” will be prohibited, beginning Nov. 12. However, restaurants will be able to place tables closer than six feet apart if they are separated by barriers. Murphy noted that this is because many restaurants had relied on barside seating to allow themselves to reach the current 25% indoor capacity limit.
In an effort to provide restaurants with some added flexibility with colder weather approaching, individual heated outdoor bubbles, or tents, will be allowed so long as they only house a single party and are thoroughly cleaned between uses.
Interstate Youth Sports
Also starting on Thursday, all interstate games and tournaments for indoor youth sports, up to and including high school, are prohibited. Murphy noted an increased risk in spreading COVID-19 when teams travel to and from other states to participate in indoor sporting events.
“These are the measures we are taking now, and they do not preclude us from taking further action or placing further restrictions on these in the near future,” Murphy said. “If we do, we anticipate they will be actions that are surgical in their approach.”
New Jersey has seen an average of more than 2,000 new COVID-19 cases per day over the past four days, and there are currently more than 1,500 people hospitalized for COVID-19 related reasons.
NJ Businesses and Nonprofits Can Receive a PPE Discount
Phase II of the EDA’s program allowing businesses and nonprofits to receive a discount on personal protective equipment (PPE) has opened.
All New Jersey-based businesses and nonprofits, regardless of size, can receive a 10% discount on PPE purchased through a partnership with Staples and Office Depot by shopping through the program’s website.
Starting tomorrow, all businesses and nonprofits with 100 or fewer employees will be able to apply through the EDA to receive an additional 25% off through these same stores.
Interested businesses should visit covid19.nj.gov/ppeaccess
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