Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Monday that restaurants in New Jersey will not resume indoor dining on Thursday as originally planned. The reopening would result reckless due to the growing number of COVID-19 cases in other states.
“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, especially when we know that this virus moves differently indoors than out, making it even more deadly,” Murphy said Monday at his coronavirus press conference.
UPDATE: INDOOR DINING WILL NO LONGER RESUME ON THURSDAY.
We had planned to loosen restrictions this week. However, after #COVID19 spikes in other states driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely.
— Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) June 29, 2020
“Today we must hit pause on the resumption of indoor dining, which was also to resume this coming Thursday. Under our revised plan indoor dining will now be set to resume at a later date to be determined,” the Governor added. “It brings me no joy to do this, but we have no choice.”
Another consideration that shapes the decision is Murphy´s observation of residents and establishments refusing to adhere social distancing guidelines or using face coverings as recommended by the state.
“So unfortunately the national situation compounded by instances of knucklehead behavior here at home are requiring us to hit pause on the start of indoor dining for the foreseeable future,” he said.
New Jersey allowed outdoor dining at restaurants and limited indoor retail to resume on June 15.
Many restaurant owners, meanwhile, said they understood Murphy’s decision to postpone indoor dining indefinitely even though the already struggling businesses will suffer further financial damage.