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As NJ cases spread, creative outdoor seating on the rise

Posted at 7:15 PM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 19:15:14-05

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J. — New Jersey reported over 3,078 new cases of COVID-19 and 15 new deaths on Wednesday, as Essex County leads the state in new infections.

Newark, in particular, is under siege and the mayor has called an emergency virtual meeting with residents Wednesday night on Facebook at 6:30 p.m.

Mayor Ras Baraka intends to address the press on Thursday morning to take questions on new restrictions the city is enforcing, including a mandatory curfew across three zip codes in the Ironbound and north Newark. Everyone in those neighborhoods must stay indoors after 9 p.m. on weekdays and 10 p.m. on weekends.

New restrictions on restaurants and bars go into effect statewide tomorrow, prohibiting barside seating and mandating all indoor dining and drinking stop at 10:00 p.m.

When Gov. Phil Murphy made the announcement earlier this week, he added that restaurants can heat individual outdoor enclosures in order to continue seating patrons outdoors into the colder months.

"These tents which may be heated must be limited to one group of diners each and must be cleaned and sanitized between uses," said the Governor.

Inside an office building in Englewood Cliffs, a New Jersey company called JD Build designed and installed vinyl igloos at Blossom Restaurant in Palisades Park, complete with a fire pit and lounge furniture.

"No outside wind enters or leaves, but ventilation is also an option," said Iris Lee, a designer with the firm. "It acts as a partition."

The igloos can be heated or cooled, keeping diners separate but comfortable as temperatures drop.