By: Michael Mandarino, Follow South Jersey Managing Editor
TRENTON, N.J. — On Wednesday, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced that restaurants and other indoor recreational businesses will now be allowed to operate at a 35% capacity — up from the previously-mandated 25%.
Gov. Murphy’s executive order also lifted the statewide 10 p.m. curfew for these businesses, but local officials are still allowed to implement their own guidelines as they see fit.
The executive order will take effect at 8 a.m. on Friday, February 5.
“I’m proud that we’ve been able to protect our restaurants from the rollercoaster of openings and closings that other states have had to implement,” Gov. Murphy said at his Wednesday coronavirus briefing. “We have been consistent in our approach. Because we opened indoor dining responsibly, never once have we had to reduce capacity. And now, because of your compliance, we can further expand indoor dining.”
The governor also noted how New Jersey, which reopened indoor dining at a 25% capacity in September, hasn’t shut down indoor dining since it originally reopened. In contrast, New York City closed all indoor dining in December after reopening it in late September, and the city will reopen indoor dining on Valentine’s Day. He also gave credit to New Jersey’s residents for their compliance and cooperation with the state’s COVID-19 mandates.
Gov. Murphy’s latest executive order applies to restaurants, bars, cafeterias/food courts, entertainment and recreational centers including casinos and gyms, and personal care services such as barber shops and nail salons. The expansion also applies to religious services, weddings, funerals, memorial services, and political activities — all of which are now limited to 35% capacity or a maximum of 150 people.
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