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LAWSUIT: Asbury Park, State Clash Over COVID-19 Indoor Dining Ban

Last week, Modine in Asbury Park announced it was closing permanently due to business lost during the coronavirus lockdown. Photo Credit: Modine
Talula's in Asbury Park is one of the most popular pizzerias in Monmouth County. Photo Credit: @Mardikins Instagram
Gov. Phil Murphy said restaurants can resume outdoor dining -- but not indoor dining -- starting Monday, June 22. Photo Credit: NJ Governor's Office (screengrab)

New Jersey is suing Asbury Park over its local decision defying Gov. Phil Murphy's orders and allowing restaurants to reopen indoor dining areas, state officials said.

"We have put the health and safety protocols in place so that you can have confidence," Gov. Phil Murphy said at a Friday afternoon news briefing.

State officials have tried to amicably resolve its dispute with Asbury Park government officials and "unfortunately they have not done so," Murphy said.

"We believe indoor restaurants can run in a safe manner provided they are subject to all the requirements outlined in Executive Order 152," Asbury Park Deputy Mayor Amy Quinn said, according to the Asbury Park Press.

Quinn said restaurants will be limited to 25 percent of capacity or under 50 people, whichever is the lowest number, according to She said Asbury Park approved the reopening because of the catastrophic impact social distancing orders have had on local restaurants. 

Last week, Modine, a popular city eatery on Mattison Avenue, announced it was closely permanently because of business losses during the coronavirus lockdown.

"We have one set of rules and they are based on one principle, and that is ensuring public health," Murphy said. 

State Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal will bring a lawsuit against Asbury Park "as we speak," the governor said.

Outdoor dining is allowed in New Jersey beginning Monday, June 15, the governor said, as well as indoor retail sales by non-essential businesses that have temporarily been allowed to sell from the curb.

"We are all in this together as we move into this next phase," Murphy said.

Also this coming Monday, the state is set to issue an order allowing the state’s libraries to offer curbside pickup, Murphy said.

As of Monday, June 22, personal care businesses can reopen, including: beauty salons barber shops, cosmetology shops and day spas, massage parlors, nail salons, tanning salons and tattoo shops -- but not saunas, steam rooms or shared bathing facilities.

Also on June 22, organized sports can resume outdoor for drills and practices.

On July 6, indoor summer and special education classes can resume in New Jersey schools. 

"We still have to be careful though," Murphy said.

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