Gov. Murphy: Indoor dining to resume, movie theaters can reopen with limited capacity

Indoor dining can resume and movie theaters can reopen in New Jersey for Labor Day weekend with limited capacity, according to Gov. Phil Murphy.

News 12 Staff

Aug 31, 2020, 12:40 PM

Updated 1,326 days ago

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Indoor dining can resume and movie theaters can reopen in New Jersey for Labor Day weekend with limited capacity, according to Gov. Phil Murphy.
The governor made the announcement on Monday during his COVID-19 briefing.
“This is an incredibly important industry to us in this state and we want it to be back on its feet,” Murphy said.
Restaurants, bars, breweries and movie theaters can reopen on Friday, Sept. 4.
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“This was simply a matter of ‘when’ and never a matter of ‘if’ and I thank the many restaurant owners across the state who thought creatively to serve their diners in the meantime,” Murphy said.
But there are restrictions. Capacity is limited to 25% and there must be 6 feet of social distance between diners. Staff and patrons must wear masks except when eating and parties can be no larger than eight.
“We know that this is a virus of opportunity, so let’s not give it any unforced opportunities,” Murphy said. “There is no unforced error, no excuse for being a knucklehead.”
The governor originally planned for indoor dining to resume on July 2, but pulled the plug due to increased COVID-19 infections. It left some restaurant owners with food that spoiled and workers to pay without any profits.
“We feel awful about the decision we had to make July 2, but we didn’t make it without reason,” said the governor, adding that he would be stunned if he had to delay reopening again.
“Personal guarantee. I’m not God. I don’t control the virus. We wouldn’t be taking this step today if we did not have a supremely high degree of confidence that we’ll be open for business on Friday,” he said.
Movie theaters and other performance venues can also reopen on Friday with 25% capacity limits. Moviegoers who didn’t’ arrive together will need to sit 6 feet apart.
“And masks are required to be worn at all times in the theater, unless you’re pulling it down to put away a handful of popcorn,” Murphy said.
Gyms are still set to reopen on Tuesday, Sept. 1 – also at 25% capacity. Schools are set to reopen after Labor Day.
“Those are big steps that we’re going to take together. Let’s do it responsibly. Let’s do it safely and let’s do it with some kind of joy,” the governor said.
The governor also raised the indoor gathering limit for some activities. Up to 150 people can now attend indoor weddings, funerals, and political events.
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