NJ restaurant faces crackdown over ‘mob of people’ on Thanksgiving eve
OAKLAND — Local authorities have ordered a restaurant to cease outdoor dining every night for the next 30 days after a packed crowd was spotted partying at the venue on the night before Thanksgiving.
Mayor Linda Schwager told NJ.com that she saw a "mob of people" not following social distancing at Portobello, leading to an emergency meeting of the governing body.
A picture shared Sunday on Facebook shows people standing shoulder-to-shoulder outside the restaurant. The person who shared the photo called the restaurant's actions "not only inappropriate but irresponsible."
After meeting in executive session on Monday to discuss "a public safety and health emergency matter," the Borough Council unanimously approved a motion to prohibit Portobello’s from offering outdoor dining after 4 p.m. for 30 days and to require the owners to appear at a meeting later this month before the restriction will be lifted.
The order would be enforced by police and health and construction officials. If Portobello’s does not comply with the order, the council said it could take the restaurant to court to shut it down completely.
The owner’s son, Vincent Amen, told NJ.com the crowd as “an anomaly” that "overwhelmed" the six off-duty police officers hired to provide security.
Under Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order, restaurants must end indoor dining at 10 p.m. but outdoor dining, takeout, pickup and delivery may continue afterward. Indoor dining is limited to 25% of a venue's capacity while outdoor dining has no limit. All employees, customers, and visitors must wear a face covering while on the premises.