NJ allowing bars, restaurants to ‘expand footprint’ outdoors starting June 15
TRENTON — Get ready to get social while social distancing.
Gov. Phil Murphy on Wednesday signed an executive allowing in-person outdoor dining by restaurants and bars starting June 15, which the governor had previewed on Monday.
The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control will also be issuing special permits to holders of liquor licenses to allow them to serve alcoholic beverages outside their premises. The special permits will last into November, Murphy said.
Murphy said that the special alcoholic permits would be subject to municipal approval.
Murphy also encouraged municipalities to work bars and restaurants to create outdoor spaces were tables and groups of people can be separated by at least 6 feet.
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Some towns like Red Bank have been planning to close streets to vehicle traffic to allow eateries to set up tables. Murphy also suggested using parking lots or parks, which would be covered by the special ABC permit.
The state Department of Health was expected to release health guidelines for restaurants and bars to follow.
Murphy has said that he hopes to allow indoor dining soon. Positive trends continue across the state, with North Jersey hospitals reporting just one new patient on Tuesday.
“Our future is bright and we will get there but first we must see our way through this emergency,” Murphy said Wednesday.
Restaurant owners have asking the Murphy administration to reopen them sooner. Pennsylvania is allowing outdoor dining on June 5.
"The New Jersey counties that border Delaware and Pennsylvania are just going to be losing customers across the bridge," New Jersey Restaurant and Hospitality Association president and CEO Marilou Halvorsen said this week.
Sergio Bichao is deputy digital editor at New Jersey 101.5. Send him news tips: Call 609-359-5348 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.