TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy on Monday announced bars and restaurants statewide must close indoor dining by 10 p.m. starting Nov. 12.
Outdoor dining, takeout and delivery service may continue past 10 p.m., the governor said at a coronavirus briefing.
“Looking at the data, we are taking surgical steps that we hope will help mitigate the current increasing rate of spread. No one up here wants to take the type of broad and all encompassing actions like those we had to take in March,” said Murphy.
Indoor service may not resume until 5 a.m., Murphy said. The indoor capacity limit remains at 25%.
Casinos are also required to follow the late-night, indoor dining restrictions, which will not impact gaming operations.
“We have to shake off the pandemic fatigue that I know we all feel. I feel it as well,” said Murphy. “We have to get back into the mindset that saw us crush the curve in the spring.”
Watch Gov. Murphy’s Press Conference:
Seating at bars will be prohibited during all hours when the new restrictions take effect. The governor said restaurants may place tables closer than six feet apart if they are separated by barriers in order to accommodate customers who would ordinarily sit at the bar.
Officials said there is evidence that people sitting at the bar, having drinks and close conversations, are spreading the virus, CBS2’s Nick Caloway reported.
In addition to the indoor restrictions, Murphy announced restaurants will be allowed to construct heated tents — or “bubbles” — around outdoor tables as long as they are limited to one group of diners each and are thoroughly cleaned.
The hospitality industry has been ravaged by the pandemic.
Monday’s announcement was yet another round of bad news for Teddy Perides, who owns Biagio’s Ristorante in Paramus.
“I’ll be honest with you, my stomach, it turned, because we thought we’d go back to normal. Little by little. This was like we got hit with a sledgehammer,” Perides told Caloway.
Watch Meg Baker’s Story:
The Millburn Standard in Millburn opened during the pandemic and is somehow making ends meet, but the restaurant has been banking on capacity inside to get a big break.
“We need 50%, 100%, the sooner the better,” the Standard’s Ryan Harris told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
Instead, it was delivered a blow.
“It’s hard. It’s an everyday struggle,” Harris said. “It’s gonna get rough with December, January, February coming,” Harris said.
While most customers finish eating by 10 p.m., closing early is devastating for revenue from the bar and private events.
It could have massive impacts statewide. Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop said COVID doesn’t know what time it is, and curfews on restaurants could do more harm than good.
“It seems to me that if you put restrictions or curfews on restaurants, you’re only going to be pushing more people into the small gathering in the home area, which is a big spreader,” Fulop said.
The new restrictions will also affect some youth sports, for teams that must travel between different states to compete.
Starting Nov. 12, all interstate competition for indoor youth sports up to and including high school are banned.
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