New Jersey restaurant owners fear neighboring states’ capacity expansions will hurt business

Some restaurants in the tri-state area will soon be able to allow more people to dine indoors. It is a move that is worrisome to some New Jersey business owners.

News 12 Staff

Mar 9, 2021, 3:12 AM

Updated 1,232 days ago

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Some restaurants in the tri-state area will soon be able to allow more people to dine indoors. It is a move that is worrisome to some New Jersey business owners.
New Jersey and New York City are holding steady at a 35% capacity limit. But starting on March 19, Connecticut and New York state will expand that limit – Connecticut to 100% and New York State to 75%.
The Hearth and Tap in Montvale is less than a mile from the New York state line.
“We’re so close to New York, literally a couple hundred yards,” says owner Fintan Seeley. “It will affect our business.”
Seeley says that he is concerned that New York’s move from 50% capacity to 75% will encourage his customers to abandon New Jersey to dine in New York.
“Until there is some level of playing field, you have to understand people will go to New York. And over the summer, people were driving to Connecticut from here. It’s only 35-40 minutes.”
Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi, who represents 22 towns in the district - many of which line the border - says the discrepancy is crushing the restaurant industry in New Jersey and that it doesn't make sense.
“If data determines dates, if science determines what we are doing, how is it plausible that less than 100 feet away the restaurant can be open at 75% and we are still at 25-35% capacity?” she asks.
At his COVID-19 briefing on Monday, Gov. Phil Murphy said that while what neighboring states do is important to consider, he has to do what is best for New Jersey. He said that if the numbers continue to go down, he hopes to expand indoor dining sooner than later.


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