Citing "knucklehead behavior," New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy postponed the resumption of indoor dining for the foreseeable future.
Restaurants were given the OK to reopen indoor facilities at 25 percent capacity with tables spaced six feet apart Thursday, after more than three months of being limited to takeout and delivery options due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Given the current situation in numerous other states we do not believe it is prudent at this time to push forward with what is, in effect, a sedentary indoor activity -- especially when we know that this virus moves differently indoors than out, making it even more deadly," Murphy said during Monday's COVID-19 briefing.
"We will not tolerate outlier bars and restaurants – and, frankly, patrons – who think the rules don’t apply to them. They are the ones who ruin it for everyone else."
Earlier this month, a Morristown bar had its outdoor dining license revoked by township officials for overcrowding and failing to follow new coronavirus regulations. State officials have also voiced worries about the widespread lack of social distancing at Jersey Shore boardwalks and its bars and clubs.
Atlantic City casinos, amusement parks and boardwalk arcades/rides can still reopen Thursday. Eateries remain open for outdoor dining, the governor said.
"We had planned to loosen restrictions this week," Murphy said. "However, after COVID19 spikes in other states driven by, in part, the return of indoor dining, we have decided to postpone indoor dining indefinitely."
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