New Jersey restaurants will be allowed to reopen for indoor dining later this week for the first time in five months.
Governor Phil Murphy has announced that patrons can dine indoors again across the state from Friday.
The number of diners must be limited to 25 percent of the restaurant’s capacity and tables must be spaced in accordance with social-distancing rules.
Masks will have to be worn except when eating or drinking.
‘Reopening responsibly will help us restore one of our state’s key industries while continuing to make progress against #COVID19,’ Murphy tweeted on Monday.
Governor Phil Murphy has announced that patrons can dine indoors again across the state from Friday. Restaurants and bars have only been allowed to offer outdoor seating after they could reopen in June. Pictured above is a restaurant in Montclair, New Jersey in July
The governor is expected to elaborate later on Monday on the coronavirus status in the state, which has slowly been reopening its economy since May.
The announcement comes five months after the state shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Like neighboring New York City, restaurants and bars have only been allowed to offer outdoor seating after they could reopen in June.
Indoor dining has been prohibited in both New Jersey and New York since the coronavirus pandemic erupted in March.
Restaurants outside of NYC in other parts of the state have already been allowed to welcome back indoor diners.
There is still no word yet on when New York City restaurants can reopen for indoor dining.
New Jersey, the country’s most densely populated state, was among the hardest hit in the months when the coronavirus first spread to the US.
It still has the second-most COVID-19 deaths of any state, with nearly 16,000, and is eighth among total cases with more than 193,000.
The state, however, has had much better control of the pandemic in the past several weeks with a transmission rate that has largely been below 1 percent.
Meanwhile, the New York City Hospitality Alliance has demanded that Mayor Bill de Blasio and Governor Andrew Cuomo release a plan for when indoor dining can resume across the city.
De Blasio had said earlier this month that there was no timeline yet for when indoor dining could resume.
Indoor dining was part of phase three of Cuomo’s reopening plan for the state.
New York City entered phase three in early July but Cuomo and de Blasio have only so far allowed outdoor dining in NYC’s five boroughs.
Every other county in New York state are currently allowed to have indoor dining at reduced capacity.