New Jersey Announces Updated COVID-19 Safety Measures for Restaurants, Bars

By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor

Photo: Jon Bradley | Follow South Jersey

TRENTON, N.J. — Governor Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday a slew of new coronavirus-related mitigation measures for restaurants, bars, and indoor sporting events up to the high school level.

Restaurants, bars, and other places that serve food will not be allowed to operate indoors between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. However, outdoor dining and delivery/takeout services will be allowed to continue in that timeframe, but restaurants and bars will not be allowed to seat people at the actual bars thanks to Gov. Murphy’s changes.

New Jersey’s state government realized that many establishments rely on seating people at the bar, so they’ll be allowed to move tables within six feet of each other as long as there are barriers separating each table. Casinos also won’t be allowed to serve drinks past 10 p.m. for the time being, but this won’t affect any other parts of casino operations.

These changes were made as coronavirus cases are on the rise throughout New Jersey. On Tuesday, more than 3,800 cases were reported statewide, but those numbers fell down to slightly more than 3,000 cases on Wednesday. Throughout the summer, new case numbers consistently hovered around the 1,000-or-fewer mark, but the virus’ “second wave” has led to a rise in cases throughout the United States.

“As cases of COVID-19 increase across the country and in our state, we must take all measures necessary to stop the spread,” Gov. Murphy said in a press release.

Additionally, all interstate indoor sporting events up to and at the high school level are no longer allowed to take place for the time being. This measure won’t affect collegiate-level or professional sports.

“We know that all indoor sports create a greater risk of team-wide transmission, and that risk is even greater when teams from multiple states come together for tournaments or other youth league functions,” Gov. Murphy said at his coronavirus briefing on November 9. “These are the measures we are taking now, and they do not preclude us from taking further action in other areas, or placing further restrictions on these in the near future.

“But if we do, we anticipate they will be actions, again, that are surgical in their approach.”

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