Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday that he is going back on his decision to allow indoor dining. Indoor dining was supposed to resume Thursday, in time for the Fourth of July weekend.
The governor, speaking at his daily COVID-19 briefing, said we “must hit pause” on the resumption of indoor dining “for the foreseeable future.”
No new date for a resumption of indoor dining was given.
“Giving the current situation in numerous other states, we do not believe it was prudent to push forward with what is essentially a sedentary indoor activity,” he said.
Murphy said spikes in cases in other states is one of the reasons for the pause. He also noted videos of scenes in some locations in New Jersey, where there has been a disregard for social distancing and face coverings.
“We have been cautious throughout every step of our restart,” he said. “We’ve always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health. This is one of those times.
“We’re also moved to pause indoor dining because of what we’ve seen in some establishments across the state: overcrowding, a complete disregard for social distancing. Very few, if any, face coverings.
“The scenes we see in our newspapers and on social media cannot continue.”
Murphy stressed that most establishments have followed the rules. That, however, is not enough.
“I recognize that there are many more establishments whose owners, managers and customers have been responsible, who have lived up not just to the guidance we’ve released, but to the spirit of community in helping to protect patrons and residents,” he said.
“The carelessness of one establishment can completely undo the good work of many others,” he said. “We will not tolerate outlier bars and restaurants — and, frankly, patrons — who think the rules don’t apply to them. They are the ones who ruin it for everyone else.”
Sources said the governor still will allow casinos to open July 2 — but that they would not be allowed to serve food or alcohol indoors.