New Jersey delays resumption of dinner at restaurants as coronavirus cases grow in other states

New Jersey restaurants will not be able to resume meals indoors on Thursday as originally planned due to a growing number of coronavirus cases in other states, Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday.

“Today we must stop at the resumption of the indoor dinner, which would also resume next Thursday. Under our revised plan, the indoor dinner will now resume at a later date to be determined,” Murphy told a conference at press. “I am not happy to do this, but we have no choice.”

Murphy noted that some New Jersey residents and establishments have not adhered to the social distancing guidelines or used facial covers as recommended by the state.

“So unfortunately, the national situation made worse by silly behaviors here at home forces us to pause at the start of meals indoors for the foreseeable future,” he said.

New Jersey allowed limited outdoor restaurant dining and retail shopping to resume on June 15. The state reopened its hair and beauty salons under specific guidelines on June 22. The state is still preparing to reopen its outdoor entertainment centers, indoor recreation facilities, museums and libraries on Thursday, Murphy said.

On Monday, New Jersey allowed shopping malls to reopen while following the same health precautions required of other stores.

On Monday morning, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also noted that the state will evaluate whether New York City restaurants are allowed to resume meals indoors, which is currently scheduled for July 6.

Cuomo said he is concerned about the lack of compliance with previous city reopens, adding that the city has experienced a lack of compliance when it comes to social distancing and wearing masks. Cookouts were allowed to resume in the city on June 22, along with in-store purchases at modified retail stores.

Health experts agree that indoor spaces are more at risk than outdoor spaces when it comes to the spread of the virus, which is another reason New Jersey has stopped indoor dining, Murphy said. Health experts specifically warn that dining indoors, where there is less air flow, may be a greater risk since people cannot use face covers when eating.

“We know that this virus moves differently indoors than it does outdoors, making it even more deadly. We have seen spikes in other states driven in part by customers returning to indoor eating establishments where they are sitting and without facial covers for significant periods of time. “Murphy said.

As of Sunday, new Covid-19 cases rose at least 5% over the past week in 37 states, according to a seven-day moving average, according to a CNBC analysis of data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The seven-day average of new Covid-19 cases in New Jersey decreased by almost 10% compared to a week ago.

Other states have had to reverse some of their reopens due to a recent increase in cases. California Governor Gavin Newsom said Sunday that bars would have to close in a handful of counties across the state. Both Texas and Florida also closed bars across the state late last week.