Indoor dining and movie theaters will open on Sept. 4 with a long list of requirements.
- 25% seating capacity
- 6 foot social distancing of tables
- Tables limited to 8 people. Individual families can sit together.
- Staff must wear masks at all times.
- Diners must wear masks when not in their seats.
- Diners must wear masks when waiting for their food.
- Food and drinks must be consumed at their table.
- Servers must place all food and drink orders. Diners cannot go to a bar to order their own drink.
- Diners can consume food and drink at a bar with social distancing if the facility serves meals there.
- Couples can dine together.
- Windows must be open.
- Air conditioning must be turned for outdoor air flow with the lowest indoor circulated air flow. Restaurants must run their air conditioning 2 hours before opening and 2 hours after closing. It is suggested that restaurants consider a portable air cleaning system with a HEPA filter.
- Reservations are encouraged.
- Customers must wait outside or in their cars if there is no room inside to allow social distancing when waiting for tables.
- Buffet, salad bars and self-serve stations are prohibited.
- Servers must sanitize shared items such as condiments and menus.
- Breweries and distilleries are included in this.
- Movie theaters and indoor entertainment venues can open on Sept. 4. Capacity is 25% or 150 patrons. Each theater in a multi-movie complex is treated as one theater. Masks and social distancing must be maintained. You must wear masks except when putting food in your mouth, according to Murphy.
- Indoor gatherings for religious services, weddings, funerals and memorial services, and political events are being increased to the lesser of 25% or 150 individuals.
When asked if he would rescind the opening of indoor dining like he did in July, Murphy said he would not give a personal guarantee. “I’m not God. I don’t control the virus.” He said he is giving a shorter notice on the opening this time to eliminate the early buying and investments that restaurant owners did for the expected and announced July opening that didn’t happen. Murphy said he would close indoor dining again if the numbers got bad because he didn’t want to see the spikes happen here that happened in other states the opened indoor dining early.
- The spot positivity for tests drawn on Aug. 27 statewide is 1.41%. In North Jersey 1.21%, Central Jersey 1.10%, and South Jersey 2.52%. The statewide positivity is the lowest it has ever been.
— by Karen E. Viereck, Editor/Publisher