Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday morning that indoor dining and casinos will be allowed to resume on July 2 — both at 25% of capacity.
Both announcements came through a tweet, shortly after 11 a.m.
The date obviously means both restaurants and casinos will be able to take advantage of the July Fourth weekend. (July 2 is a Thursday.)
Murphy said New Jersey will release more guidance for both later this week.
BREAKING: On Thursday, July 2nd:
🎰Casinos may reopen – operating at 25% capacity
🍽️Indoor dining may resume – limited at first to 25% capacity
Additional health and safety guidance will be released within the next several days. pic.twitter.com/b4jY2fR3sp
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 22, 2020
Marilou Halvorsen, the head of the New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association, said the announcement was great news for her members.
“We’re happy that we’ll be able to transition into indoor dining,” she told ROI-NJ. “We’re hopeful that this is just the first step — we’re hoping to see that number go up to 50% in the next couple of weeks.”
Halvorsen said there have been few issues with outdoor dining — which opened last week. But, she noted the ability to go indoors solves the biggest problem with outdoor dining: a sudden change in weather.
“We saw that this past weekend,” she said. “A band of storms came through in South Jersey, and everyone was frantic about what to do with their staff and their guests. We are at the mercy of the weather, so having the ability to bring people inside will be helpful.”
Halvorsen said she is especially pleased that the state is opening up indoor dining and the casinos before the July Fourth holiday weekend.
“We were pushing for that,” she said. “It will make a huge difference.”
Next up, she said, is allowing catering halls and wedding venues to reopen.
“The governor seems to increase things every couple of weeks, so we’re hopeful,” she said.