Plan on counting down New Year’s at home: Murphy says N.J. has no plans to move 10 p.m. dining curfew

The answer shouldn’t have come as a surprise. After all, Gov. Phil Murphy — who proudly notes his Irish heritage whenever he can — clamped down on St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in March, at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

So, don’t get your hopes up for New Year’s Eve.

Many establishments are wondering what they are going to do about a night that typically brings in large crowds and high profits.

Murphy, speaking at his COVID-19 briefing, was asked if there’s a chance the 10 p.m. curfew for indoor dining and bar service will be lifted for that evening.

He thought that question was funny.

“New Year’s Eve is two weeks from Thursday,” Murphy said with a smile. “I don’t want to burst anyone’s bubbles, but I don’t see it. I know people won’t be happy about that. I hope we won’t have to go through one of these ‘pull the garage doors down’ changes. I hope we can remain surgical.”

And don’t think you can get away with staying open, either.

New Jersey State Police Superintendent Col. Pat Callahan said the Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control is beginning to do spot inspections for COVID restriction violations.

“On Thursday and Friday, ABC went out on inspections,” he said. “On Thursday, they conducted 66 COVID-19 compliance inspections and cited three. On Friday, they conducted 48 compliance inspections and cited six establishments.”