Friday, November 13, 2020

Legislators Decry Murphy's Newest Dining Restrictions

New Jersey's 10th District state legislators share the concerns of restaurant owners who believe Governor Phil Murphy’s newest restrictions on restaurants and bars will have an unnecessarily detrimental impact on an already stressed industry. Senator Jim Holzapfel and Assemblymen Greg McGuckin and John Catalano said there is not enough evidence to support a 10 p.m. closure for indoor dining at all bars and restaurants.

“Restaurants and the long list of associated industries that support and rely on them have been stretched so thin this year,” stated Senator Holzapfel. “Operating at 25% capacity indoors just doesn’t cut it for most, especially when they have greater costs related to sanitization, PPE, and various modifications that are necessary to keep customers safe. We’re greatly concerned that the Governor is putting new restrictions on restaurants that they can’t afford, even after he has long acknowledged that there’s no evidence that indoor dining has contributed to any outbreaks.”

Under new orders by Governor Murphy, restaurants, bars, and other businesses that serve food or drinks must suspend indoor dining between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. Outdoor dining can continue after 10:00 p.m., along with takeout and delivery services.

“These actions by the Governor are no different than if he was condemning someone’s private property for public good,” said Assemblyman McGuckin. “If the Governor mandates private businesses to close to protect the public good, then he should ensure these businesses are compensated in the same way. Our delegation introduced S-3060/A-4849, which compensates the business owner for loss of income during a temporary partial or complete closure of the business. We urge the Governor to support our bill before his plan brings more economic devastation to our local businesses.”

The newest restrictions are detailed in Executive Order No. 194, which Murphy signed this week.

“Although this industry has been hit hard, the resilience of the business owners to maintain proper health and safety measures has been astounding,” added Assemblyman Catalano. “All they need to survive is for the Governor to take his foot off their necks. Our residents want to support their local bars and restaurants and we should give the people the freedom of choice to patronize during any time of day or night. Does it make any sense to differentiate between 9:45 and 10:15?”

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