NJ hits pause on indoor dining at restaurants, malls reopen

Virus Outbreak New Jersey
Posted at 2:57 PM, Jun 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-29 22:58:43-04

NEW JERSEY — Gov. Phil Murphy paused plans Monday to allow restaurants in New Jersey to resume indoor dining.

Indoor dining was scheduled to resume on Thursday, but Murphy said that's off the table now because he's seen spikes in other places that allowed indoor dining.

"Given the current situation in numerous other states, we do not believe it is prudent at this time to push forward with what is in effect a sedentary indoor activity," he said. "Especially when we know that this virus moves differently indoors then out, making it even more deadly."

He also added that he's seen overcrowding, disregard for social distancing and a lack of masks at restaurants in recent days.

"The carelessness of one establishment can outdo the good of many others," Murphy said. "They are the ones who ruin it for everyone else."

Murphy said it's not clear when indoor dining will be allowed again.

Many restaurant owners expressed their disappointment.

"We spend more money just to get ready," said New Jersey restauranteur Mike Anastasi, who owns The Brown Stone in Metuchen, along with seven diners in the state, "I'm very, very disappointed."

The New Jersey Licensed Beverage Association, which represents over 6000 bars and restaurants, said one in four of their members are already in jeopardy of losing everything.

"I don’t know if it’s fair to punish the masses for a few bad apples," said Diane Weiss, executive director of the NJLBA. "We weren’t even given the opportunity to try."

Meanwhile, shopping malls in New Jersey reopened Monday, but restaurants in those malls can reopen for takeout or outdoor dining only.

Shoppers turned out in masks, which are mandatory inside.

Garden State Plaza in Paramus was among those with doors open, but some malls did not reopen Monday.

A spokesperson for the American Dream Mall in East Rutherford said they are not ready to release their reopening plans.

Movie theaters and indoor amusement must remain closed.

Casinos, outdoor amusement parks, playgrounds, museums and libraries will reopen in New Jersey on Thursday.