NJ Gov. Phil Murphy Halts Reopening, Warns Restaurants: ‘Compliance Isn’t a Polite Suggestion. It Is Required’

NEWARK, NJ - AUGUST 14: New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy speaks about Newark's ongoing water crisis during a press conference held at the Newark Health Department on August 14, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. The city recently began distributing bottled water to residents affected by tap water that's been contaminated …
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New Jersey will not allow restaurants to open their doors to the public for indoor dining this week, postponing the move “indefinitely,” Gov. Phil Murphy (D) announced Monday.

The state was originally slated to allow restaurants to resume indoor dining at a limited capacity, 25 percent, beginning July 2. That plan, however, has changed.

“We had planned to loosen restrictions this week,” Murphy said at a Monday news conference. “However, after COVID-19 spikes in other states driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely.”

Murphy said officials do not believe it is “prudent” to continue the reopening process, particularly with what he described as “a sedentary indoor activity – especially when we know that this virus moves differently indoors than out, making it even more deadly.”

“We have seen spikes in other states driven, in part, by the return of patrons to indoor dining establishments, where they are seated, and without face coverings, for significant periods of time,” he continued, according to NJ.com.

“We’ve always said that we would not hesitate to hit pause if needed to safeguard public health. This is one of those times,” the governor said in a Twitter thread detailing the decision, attributing it to “what we’ve seen in some establishments across the state.”

“Overcrowding. A complete disregard for social distancing. Very few, IF ANY, face coverings,” he said. “The scenes we see in our newspapers and on social media CANNOT CONTINUE.”

While the governor recognized there have been establishment owners and customers who have acted responsibly, Murphy said the “carelessness of one establishment can completely undo the good work of many others.”

“We will not tolerate outlier bars and restaurants – and, frankly, patrons – who think the rules don’t apply to them,” he continued.

“Compliance isn’t a polite suggestion. It is required.”

New Jersey has reported 171,182 positive coronavirus cases and 14,975 related deaths since March.

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