Restaurants fear new indoor dining restrictions will hurt weekend business

New Jersey is heading into the first weekend of Gov. Phil Murphy’s new executive order regarding indoor dining, causing some restaurant owners to be worried about revenue.
Piattino, a neighborhood bistro in Summit, saw a fairly decent lunch crowd on Friday. General manager Elena Dumbrowski says that business has been doing well recently. Last week, with the 25% capacity limit in place, they even made more profit than the same week last year.
“People are a little bit nervous, but once they come inside, we have a large area. It’s nice. They’re feeling comfortable. We’re wearing masks and gloves. So far, it’s been great, thankfully. We’re happy,” she says.
But now all restaurants and bars in New Jersey must halt indoor food and drink service from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. No one can sit or be served up at the bar either, under the governor’s new restrictions. These are both popular dining options, especially on the weekend.
“Now we’ll have to have people leave a little earlier and maybe not enjoy themselves as much as they were in the past,” Dumbrowski says. “That’s revenue for us, so that is where that hurts.”
Dumbrowski says that restaurants and bars can sometimes make thousands of dollars after 10 p.m., so this new restriction will cut into revenue. She says that she hopes that the new restrictions are short-term and end quickly.
“The concern is, will we close? Will they put a mandatory closedown again?” she says. “I just hope for the best and hope that this small step stops the grow of increased cases so we can stay open."
The governor also signed an order allowing municipalities to put stricter restrictions in place if they choose. But the mayor of Summit says that there are no plans to put an earlier curfew in place.
Roots Steakhouse on Springfield Avenue in Summit will be closed for two weeks after several employee's tested positive. Their health department advises customers who sat at the bar between Nov. 3 and Nov. 12 to get a COVID-19 test.