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'No Choice': South Jersey Movie Theater Closes After Defying Murphy's Order

The Tilton Square Theatre in Northfield.
The Tilton Square Theatre in Northfield. Photo Credit: The Tilton Square Theatre Facebook

A South Jersey movie theater has closed after being ticketed by police for defying Gov. Phil Murphy's executive order and reopening amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Tilton Square Theatre in Northfield reopened on June 5, after more than five weeks of being closed due to COVID-19. 

The theater implemented several safety measures including customer limits, requiring masks, installing sneeze guards and more.

Police mailed the theater a summons for each day it was open (5), and officers gave the theater a verbal warning along with a copy of the governor's executive order the day it opened, Police Chief Paul Newman said.

On June 11, the theater announced it had no choice but to close.

"We received an onslaught of citations and threats of legal action against us, despite providing a higher standard to keep our customers and our employees safe compared to other businesses that are permitted to operate," the theater said in a statement Thursday.

"We believe we have been unfairly targeted and denied the right to engage in lawful business activity while other businesses are able to operate legally.

"This is a great loss to the community during these trying times and we encourage our customers and supporters to contact their local politicians to ask that our theater be permitted to open safely."

Movie theaters can reopen during Stage 3 of New Jersey's restart and recovery plan, along with gyms and office buildings. Murphy hasn't given any speculations as to when that will be. The state will enter Stage 2 on Monday.

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