SEA BRIGHT, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — In New Jersey, some restaurant owners say if they don’t reopen soon, it will be too late. They’re struggling to hang on and appealing to Gov. Phil Murphy.
Desperate pleas from restaurants owners were heard along the Jersey Shore Friday.
One by one outside a Sea Bright restaurant, they asked Murphy to let them open for outdoor dining.
Mark Jakubowski owns Old Man Rafferty’s in New Brunswick and Hillsborough.
“We’re barely hanging on,” he said.
He tells CBS2’s Cory James he’s operating at 25% of his normal revenue, and he believes he’ll have to shut down soon because his PPP loan is running out.
“We don’t have any more time left to sustain ourselves on this loan. By the time June 30 comes, we’re all going to be once again out of business,” Jakubowski said.
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The New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association put together guidelines detailing how restaurants will operate outdoor service.
It requires owners to keep tables spaced at least six feet apart from each other. The plan also states the number of people per table will not exceed eight.
Customers will only be allowed inside to use the restroom.
Association President Marilou Halvoresen says they want to avoid situations where people are gathering on their own to eat outside restaurants.
In some incidents, people have created makeshift tables in restaurant parking lots or sat in the back of pickup trucks to dine with others.
“That’s why it’s important to get the outside dining going because people are finding these really unsafe ways to do things,” she said.
The governor has not signed an executive order allowing the change, but some are hoping he will follow what neighboring states like Connecticut, Delaware and Pennsylvania are doing.
It’s a decision they believe will save businesses before the biggest time of the year.
“If they lose this season, you’re going to lose a lot of businesses,” one man said
While it’s unclear when that will happen, Murphy said Friday, “Data determines dates as we have seen the data continue to move in the right direction.”
The governor is expected to release more information on Phase 2 of the reopening Monday.
Restaurants are hoping that will include them and allow them to do outdoor dining by June 5.