Indoor dining returns Friday, but not all New Jersey restaurants will allow customers inside

Indoor dining returns to New Jersey Friday morning after nearly six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Sep 4, 2020, 2:08 AM

Updated 1,325 days ago

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Indoor dining returns to New Jersey Friday morning after nearly six months because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But not all restaurants in the state will welcome customers back inside just yet. Under Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order, restaurants must limit customers to 25% capacity and tables must be at least six feet apart.
At Ohana Grill in Lavallette, owner and chef James Costello says that the restaurant won’t return to fine dining at the moment and instead focus on to-go orders.
“Staff-wise, we are fine. But it would be too hard to do a to-go operation with all of this set up and do fine dining in the same space. So, it is really a space issue,” he says.
Ohana’s dining room is now a supply room. Before the pandemic, it could fit 17 tables. But at 25% capacity, only four tables would be allowed.
Costello says that indoor dining just isn’t worth it right now. He says that he can get 30 takeout orders in 15 minutes’ time.
“In a best-case scenario, at 50%, you’re breaking even,” Costello says.
Costello also hasn't had a chance to take advantage of outdoor dining which has allowed some restaurants on Route 35 to thrive through these conditions. He says that he was only allowed to set up on the porch of the restaurant with four tables so it wasn’t worth it.
 


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