NJ Implements Indoor Dining Curfew And Other Restrictions

In response to rising Covid-19 cases, restaurants cannot serve patrons indoors after 10 pm, but outdoor dining and take-out will still be permitted later.

Photo courtesy of Unsplash

Starting today, all indoor dining in New Jersey—still restricted to 25 percent capacity—is required to stop at 10 pm. Outdoor dining, takeout and delivery services can continue later.

Governor Murphy announced the changes on Monday, when he signed Executive Order No. 194. According to the order, “all restaurants, cafeterias, dining establishments, and food courts, with or without a liquor license; bars; and all other holders of a liquor license with retail consumption privileges, collectively referred to as “food or beverage establishments,” that are open to the public, must close their indoor operations to the public from 10:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. each day.” New York has announced a nightly curfew of 10 pm for both indoor and outdoor dining.

The New Jersey order was implemented in response to Covid-19 infections rising again in the state. On Tuesday, health officials reported 3,877 new Covid-19 cases and 21 additional deaths in the state. New Jersey’s seven-day rolling average for new cases reached 2,568, an increase of 55 percent from a week ago, and a 233 percent increase from a month ago.

In addition to the indoor dining curfew, Murphy has announced that no barside seating will be permitted inside bars and restaurants.

Some disagreed with Murphy’s decision. In a Facebook post, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop wrote: “The Governor has said over the last few weeks (and local data as well) that the recent spread is happening due to small gatherings in ppl’s homes w/friends + families. Closing restaurants/bars at a random time will only push people more towards those house gatherings that are the spreaders. I would have preferred stricter penalties for restaurants/bars that violate rules, more extensive [contact] tracing, more usage of the app the state implemented, more masks, and more rapid testing resources. But alas…. the law is now what the law is so here we are with a curfew again.”

This morning, Governor Murphy appeared on the TODAY Show to discuss the new indoor dining restrictions. “Our numbers have gone up dramatically… everything is going in the wrong direction,” he told Susanna Guthrie. “People were just letting their guard down, particularly in and around bars.”

He continued, “This second wave is without question upon us.”

The interview reiterates a point Murphy made in his tweet earlier this week. “The numbers are rising. Take this seriously, folks. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay safe.”

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