No indoor dining July 2 — Murphy says it’s too dangerous
Indoor dining is no longer set to resume in New Jersey on July 2, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.
The announcement comes as many states are slowing their own reopenings or instituting new restrictions in the face of growing novel coronavirus cases — though New Jersey has been seeing its positivity rate, hospitalizations and deaths declining for weeks.
"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," Murphy said on Twitter, in an announcement coinciding with his daily COVID-19 press conferences.
He said the decision was also prompted "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 wrote.
He said many establishments, and many patrons, are acting responsibly, but "the carelessness of one establishment can completely undo the good work of many others. 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."
Murphy himself ate outdoors at Martell's Waters Edge Saturday, the governor said in social media posts over the weekend. Though pictures circulated by others appeared to show him indoors, the manager of the restaurant said those photos are from within a large tiki bar area with open sides and a roof.
Murphy issued an executive order allowing outdoor dining for the first time since March earlier this month, but indoor dining has remained prohibited under orders he issued in March in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Take-out and delivery service have been allowed throughout the pandemic.
"Compliance isn’t a polite suggestion. It is required," Murphy said on Twitter Monday. "Selflessness, not selfishness."
In a series of other tweets, he warned the coronavirus risk isn't over, even as New Jersey has seen encouraging statistics.
The state is still on track to allow outdoor graduations after the July 4 weekend. Under current restrictions, outdoor gatherings, including graduations, are capped at 250 people. Murphy has said he expects to raise that limit to 500 people on July 3. It's unclear whether that plan may also be affected by the concerns that prompted Monday's announcements.
Shopping centers reopened Monday. Some indoor entertainment and amusement parts are slated to open this week.