‘We're not trying to bigfoot people’: Showdown over indoor dining looms in Asbury Park

A showdown could be looming in Asbury Park as the city defies Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order with plans to allow limited indoor dining.

News 12 Staff

Jun 12, 2020, 11:27 AM

Updated 1,403 days ago

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A showdown could be looming in Asbury Park as the city defies Gov. Phil Murphy’s executive order with plans to allow limited indoor dining.
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On Wednesday, Asbury Park's city council approved a resolution permitting its restaurants to host diners inside at 25% of the building’s capacity or 50 people, whichever is less, beginning June 15.
The move came as a surprise to some in Asbury Park, a city known for its progressive liberal politics and leadership. Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn tells News 12 the decision was strictly business.  
“No question about this town being overly Democratic and this isn't about angering the governor, it's truly not at all,” says Deputy Mayor Quinn. “This is really about businesses being on the brink and believing that we can keep our residents and business safe by opening at 25% capacity. “
Gov. Murphy said Thursday the move violates his executive order, which allows some indoor gatherings, but not indoor dining.
"We cannot have one set of rules for one and another for another town," says Gov. Murphy. “We're not trying to bigfoot people. The facts are the facts. Inside, sedentary no ventilation, close proximity is hard. Will we get there? Yes, and God willing I hope sooner than later, and I'm hoping we can give guidance on dates sooner than later."
But some restaurant owners are sticking by the governor's executive order and holding off opening the doors, keeping the tables outside.  
Brick Wall announced on its Facebook page while outside tables will be available by reservation only, inside will remain off limits as they await further guidelines from the governor's office.
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On the local group Facebook pages, there is a small, but vocal minority of people who disagree with the council's decision, saying letting restaurants open will put even those who choose to stay away at risk. 
Outdoor dining for bars and restaurants can resume on Monday.
Quinn says the city took the action because restrictions implemented to control the coronavirus pandemic are taking a financial toll on the city’s restaurants.
AP wire services helped contribute to this report.


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