What to Know
- New Jersey restaurants can resume indoor dining statewide on Friday, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday; capacity is capped at 25% and social distancing is required, along with facial coverings when people aren’t eating
- NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo says the state is evaluating data daily as far as reopening NYC indoor dining, casinos and state movie theaters
- He noted business compliance had improved in NYC, which may indicate an announcement on indoor dining could come sooner rather than later
New Jersey restaurants can resume indoor dining statewide starting this Friday, Sept. 4, Gov. Phil Murphy announced early Monday. Capacity will be capped at 25 percent to start and at least 6 feet are required between tables.
Additional information on protocol and requirements is expected later Monday.
Monday’s long-awaited announcement came more than a month after indoor dining was supposed to start in the Garden State. Murphy postponed it indefinitely, citing heightened concerns about increased infection risk in enclosed spaces like restaurants and gyms. He gave the go ahead on gyms last week.
Daily Percentage of Positive Tests by New York Region
With all of New York state in some phase of reopening, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is shifting his focus to monitoring test results on a daily basis across each region to identify potential hotspots before they emerge. Here’s the latest tracking data by region. For the latest county-level results statewide, click here
Michele Siekerka, the president of the New Jersey Business and Industry Association, said Murphy’s Monday announcement on indoor dining was “unfortunately long overdue.”
He was among those who criticized the abrupt decision to shelve it before the July 4 holiday, saying the state’s businesses lost out on the “prime summer season,” losing patrons to open restaurants in Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Jack Ciattarelli, a former member of the Assembly, is running for the GOP nomination for governor to take on Murphy next year. He also called the decision long overdue and said if health conditions permit, then capacity should be increased incrementally, rising to 50 percent by November.
New York City postponed indoor dining indefinitely around the same time as New Jersey did. No timeline has been set for its return but Gov. Andrew Cuomo said last week that decision — along with reopening decisions on movie theaters and casinos in the state — was under “daily” evaluation.
Shortly before that, he noted that business compliance in New York City had significantly improved in recent weeks, which could indicate an announcement on indoor dining sooner rather than later.
Cuomo didn’t give any timeline for making or announcing his decision — he described it all as a “fluid” situation — but Thursday marked the first time in more than a month that he commended New York City for improved compliance rather than condemned it for poor compliance.
Indoor dining, along with malls, in New York City remain the last major business sectors shut down.
New York and New Jersey, with the exception of a few weeks for the latter, have maintained low virus rates amid their phased reopenings. New York state hit 23 straight days of a daily COVID test positivity rate below 1 percent on Sunday. Even the city has consistently seen daily positivity rates of 1 percent or below.