Towns, local businesses make new efforts to stem transmission of COVID-19 in New Jersey
As cases of COVID-19 surge across New Jersey, several towns and local businesses are taking it upon themselves to implement some restrictions designed to stop the spread.
One restaurateur in Denville says he is doing his part to protect the community by shutting down indoor service.
“There’s a lot of people through this little building and we really want to make sure that we’re doing the right thing,” says Tommy Pollio, co-owner of the Pasta Shop.
Just two months after reopening the restaurant’s doors for indoor dining, Pollio says he decided to close once again.
“With the numbers through the roof… We really want to do what we think is the right thing for, not only ourselves - we have a lot of employees here – for our staff, our families and our community,” Pollio says.
There are currently no statewide mandates to shut down. But some towns have taken it upon themselves to roll back on in-person interactions and to enforce mask-wearing.
Montclair, Newark and South Orange have all mandated mask-wearing while indoors. Newark City Hall will be closed to the public until Jan. 3. A deep cleaning will be taking place. Passaic students will return to virtual learning until mid-January.
But President Joe Biden says that the country is not going backward.
“Are we going back to March 2020…when the pandemic first hit? That’s what I keep getting asked. The answer is absolutely no. No,” the president said.
Over 70% of New Jersey residents are fully vaccinated. And the state is seeing an increase in the number of people getting tested, contributing to high case counts.
Back in Denville, the chairman of the Downtown Denville Business Improvement District says businesses are just trying to survive.
“Businesses really aren’t looking to do anything where we would close down everything, but find just other ways to remain open – to be as safe as possible,” says Gene Fitzpatrick.
Pollio says that the Pasta Shop has pivoted to takeout and delivery, during the busiest week of the year.
“The idea of not having guests in here is certainly not ideal. It was not the easiest decision to make, it was certainly something that we talked over. But we always want to do the right thing and that’s what we think we’re doing right now,” says Pollio.
Gov. Phil Murphy encouraged all New Jersey residents to get tested before spending time with members of their family. He also encouraged all those who are able to get the vaccine and the booster shot.