Indoor dining in New Jersey will no longer be permitted between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. effective Nov. 12, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced at a press conference Monday.
The new guidelines applies to all restaurants, bars, clubs and lounges in New Jersey. Barside seating will be prohibited at all times. Takeout, delivery and outdoor dining may continue at all hours.
Murphy also announced amendments to current dining restrictions, stating that restaurants may now place tables closer than six feet apart as long as protective barriers are placed between them. “Individual, fully enclosed dining-bubbles” that can be heated, limited to one group of customers per bubble, may now be used for outdoor dining services, Murphy said.
All interstate youth sports games up to and including high school will also be prohibited starting Nov. 12 due to the risk of team-wide transmission and spread of COVID-19 between teams from different states, Murphy said. College sports remain unimpacted.
“To be clear, the last thing I want to do is to shut our economy back down, and thankfully we are not at that point,” Murphy said. “We are taking surgical steps that we hope will help mitigate the current increasing rate of spread.”
Regarding the distribution of COVID-19 vaccinations, Murphy stated that broad vaccine distribution “is within reach of the April to May (2021) timeframe,” citing a recent meeting with Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force.
“Should that timeframe hold… we have the plan ready to move quickly to vaccinating residents,” Murphy said.
Pfizer and BioNTech announced in a press release Monday that their vaccine candidate was found by initial results to be more than 90% effective in preventing COVID-19 in participants.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who was re-elected for a second full term in the U.S. Senate also attended and spoke at the briefing.
Booker spoke about the U.S. Congress’ upcoming actions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It is my hope that we now put politics aside and work for the people,” Booker said.
Murphy also announced that the New Jersey State Police will be distributing 2.4 million masks to schools across the state, prioritizing low-income and high-needs populations.
“New Jersey is back at levels (of spread) we thought we left behind months ago,” Murphy said. “This virus has not gone away and it is posing its greatest threat to us in many months.”
Louis Motta can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.