‘Tweaking our parameters at the edges’: Gov. Murphy speaks on new indoor dining measures to slow COVID-19 spread
Changes are coming to indoor dining, as Gov. Phil Murphy spoke this morning about what he says are new measures to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Gov. Murphy's administration is set to order bars and restaurants to halt indoor dining from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. starting this week because of an uptick in coronavirus.
LIVE UPDATES: Gov. Murphy to halt indoor dining from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.
On CNBC's Squawk Box, Gov. Murphy originally hinted at what he could announce during his 1 p.m. press briefing.
“My guess is later today, we are going to shave at the edges,” says Gov. Murphy. “For instance, if you sit at a bar, there's a much higher likelihood of transmission. Restaurants that stay open late, folks let their hair down later than earlier.”
This is not a lockdown, and there won’t be as strict measures that were taken in the spring, the governor says.
“We will take steps later today, but it won't come close to what we were doing in the spring,” says Gov. Murphy. “This is not a lockdown, but this is tweaking our parameters at the edges.”
But pulling back restrictions does leave some restaurant owners worried about what's next.
“He's been so inconsistent with the things he said and honestly it's like a grain of salt to me,” says franchise owner Camryn Monteforte. “I just take it day by day when I hear something, I try to make the proper changes to adapt, but right now, everything's changing constantly. Until it's concrete, I can't stress about it.”
The governor’s restrictions are expected to include closing bar seating, and forcing restaurants and casinos to stop serving food and alcohol after 10 p.m., but allowing increased capacity as long as plexiglass barriers separate tables and booths.
The owners and managers at Meemoms in Wall Township say it's a struggle even at 25% capacity, and there's no worse feeling than having to turn people away.
“I think we are all a little nervous,” says manager Susie Dowling. “We are on edge of our seats right now wondering what's next balls in his court unfortunately. That's all we can do is just wait.” News 12 spoke on the phone with the New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association for reaction, and president Marilou Halvorsen said, “We are blaming an industry, that's not the problem. We are the go to scapegoat. These restrictions will push people into homes to socialize. We have strict sanitation protocols. It's frustrating every time there's an issue we get further penalized."