Restaurants could be reimbursed for money spent preparing for indoor dining under new bill

A bipartisan bill making its way through Trenton could reimburse restaurants for money spent preparing for indoor dining.

News 12 Staff

Jul 9, 2020, 11:38 PM

Updated 1,377 days ago

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A bipartisan bill making its way through Trenton could reimburse restaurants for money spent preparing for indoor dining.
Restaurants in New Jersey were set to reopen for indoor dining on July 2, but Gov. Phil Murphy pulled the plug on the plan at the last minute due to rising cases of COVID-19. Some restaurant owners said that they were out thousands of dollars due to the change.
“They, 1. Began to rehire employees off unemployment. 2. Spent money for food obviously. And 3. Prepared the restaurant,” says Republican Assembly Minority Leader Jon Bramnick.
With indoor dining on hold indefinitely, Bramnick says that the state should step in to provide grant money for the restaurants to recoup their losses.
“I’m not a restaurateur, but I think there are multiple areas we need to reimburse the restaurants,” he says.
The governor said on Wednesday that while Bramnick is a good friend, he wondered where the money could come from for the plan.
More: Your New Jersey 'We're Open' Photos
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“All of a sudden he can’t find money. He’s been pretty good at spending money. All of a sudden, he’s got amnesia and he can’t find any money? I think he finds money for the stuff he wants to pay for,” says Bramnick.
Democratic Senate President Steve Sweeney says that he supports Bramnick’s bill. In a statement, Sweeney expressed sympathy for restaurants, saying, “For some, this blow could be the straw that breaks their back. These small loans financed from the federal government would cover the cost of the day and help them return to business once the indoor dining ban is lifted.”
Bramnick says that Murphy’s indoor dining delay adds to his frustration on how the administration has handled the pandemic, with limited consultation with the Legislature and Republicans.
"I think the governor comes across as a nice ambassador, but in terms of a manager, there's a lot to be left that's undone,” Bramnick says.
Sen. Sweeney also says that restaurants and bars are some of the state's most vulnerable businesses, and were already struggling to survive the COVID-19 shutdown.


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