It’s not fun to begin every new post with a patient count. But it’s also important for us, as a state to know what’s going on with a socially communicable disease. As of this morning, there are 98 cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey. The CDC is also recommending people suspend gatherings of fifty-plus people for the next two months.
This morning, in a joint conference call with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Governor Phil Murphy announced a statewide curfew of 8pm. All casinos, restaurants, bars, movie theaters and gyms must shut down at 8pm Monday, March 17 and will remain closed until further notice. Restaurants and bars will be takeout/delivery only.
Going out may be off the table, but that doesn’t mean we can’t support New Jersey restaurants in a time of great need.
The two major ways to help restaurants right now: gift cards and takeout/delivery.
For gift cards, think of it like an investment in the welfare of your food community. You’ll be helping your local restaurants now and ensuring a happier future for everyone, including restaurant staff, who’ll be more than happy to see you and serve you when this eventually recedes. And it will.
Here are some restaurants changing or adapting their takeout/delivery set-up. Check your local and favorite spots.
—Over the weekend, Jersey City, Hoboken and Morristown announced restaurants will only be allowed to serve takeout and delivery. Places like Razza have already begun to respond with takeout directions.
—Eno Terra in Kingston announced changes to the dining room, “allowing a minimum of three feet between all tables.” They’re also adding nitrile gloves (like this) to the support staff and will be serving a “limited menu Monday through Thursday.”
—Chef Jamie Knott is personally offering to help parents who might need help feeding their kids now that schools are closed until at least April 20. “Cereal, milk, bread, PB&J, soup,” the post reads. “No judgment just here to help.” The post not only generated lots of appreciation—it stirred up offers to help.
—Uproot in Warren went from listing its COVID-19-appropriate responses to showcasing some of the lovely sweets to come from their pastry chef this spring (a nicely effective “keep hope alive” move) to offering a “to go” option this past Saturday.
—Vidalia Restaurant in Lawrenceville has a truck set up doing deliveries of “large or small trays,” which means incredibly good food in some quantity courtesy of Sicilian-born chef Salvatore Scarlata. Their Family Style menu is already set up for the kind of quantities a quarantine might require. (They also just set up an online order app for deliveries in the Lawrenceville area.)
Please send any restaurant updates to Emily Bell: [email protected]