Asbury Park backs off indoor dining dispute following Gov. Murphy lawsuit

Officials in Asbury Park saw an opportunity to allow some customers inside restaurants to dine beginning today, but city officials slammed the brakes on the idea after Gov. Phil Murphy filed a lawsuit.

News 12 Staff

Jun 15, 2020, 2:28 PM

Updated 1,403 days ago

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Officials in Asbury Park saw an opportunity to allow some customers inside restaurants to dine beginning today, but city officials slammed the brakes on the idea after Gov. Phil Murphy filed a lawsuit.
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Business owners in town say they are frustrated. They were planning to open for indoor dining, but now are at risk of getting fined or losing their liquor license.
“We still don’t have a date for indoor dining, so apparently this virus is extremely intelligent and will only know if you’re inside a restaurant versus in a retail shop or a spa or salon,” says Toast owner Amy Russo.
Sarcastic and understandable frustration from the owner of Toast in Asbury Park when asked if she disagrees with the governor’s decision to prevent indoor dining at a limited capacity.
“We’re not going to make money with outdoor dining only,” says Russo. “But what we really hope at the end of the day with all of this is that the governor issues guidelines for indoor dining.”
The Asbury Park City Council voted Wednesday to allow restaurants to open indoor seating areas to help local businesses, in direct violation of Gov. Murphy's executive order.
The governor then filed a lawsuit against the city, and according to a court order issued Friday, indoor restaurant seating is temporarily banned -- forcing local officials to backtrack.
“We’ve expanded outdoor dining,” says Asbury Park Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn. “Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday we’re closing down Cookman Avenue, closing down parts of Madison Avenue. People are going to be able to eat and drink at tables in the street, socially distant.”
Retail shops and art galleries in town will also be offering outdoor service.
Gov. Murphy says his decision is based solely on ensuring public health. The court order temporarily banning indoor dining is now in effect until July 10.


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