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New Jersey Restaurant Industry Faces “Tipping Point “

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the staff of the Ridgewood blog

Ridgewood NJ, according to the National Restaurant Association the number of restaurants in America that will close their doors for good could be as many as 10,000 in the next three weeks. The National Restaurant Association is lobbying Congress to pass new stimulus efforts that can stave off restaurant closures as the pandemic continues and perhaps reverse some of the 110,000 closures that have already occurred in 2020.

Others like Slapfish Restaurant Group founder and CEO Andrew Gruel is calling on America’s restaurants to fight against tightened coronavirus restrictions, he told FOX Business Network’s “Cavuto: Coast to Coast” on Tuesday.

“It’s just up to all of us to stand up and stay open,” he said. “I’m not one to try to create some sort of a rebellion but at the end of the day, there’s a tipping point.”

In New Jersey Governor Murphy has imposed very strict  COVID-19 Indoor Dining Restrictions based on the “data” .

Under these new restrictions, restaurants, bars, clubs, and lounges that serve food and drink are required to close their indoor premises for business by 10 p.m. each day and reopen no earlier than 5:00 a.m. the following day. Casinos and retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must also prohibit the consumption of food and/or beverages indoors between 10:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. These restrictions do not apply to outdoor dining, takeout, and delivery services, which are permitted to continue past 10:00 p.m. to the business’s normal closing hours.

In addition, New Jersey has now issued the following requirements for indoor dining:

Number of patrons in indoor areas is limited to 25% of the establishment’s indoor capacity, excluding the establishment’s employees

Limit seating to a maximum of eight customers per table (unless they are family members from the same household), and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of six feet between parties; however, tables may be placed closer than six feet if they are separated by dividing barriers

Customers must wear face coverings while inside the establishment except when eating or drinking at their table

Customers must be seated at their table to place a food or beverage order. Also, customers can be served and consume food or beverages only while seated

Smoking, including vaping, is permitted indoors only when otherwise permitted by state law

Barside seating is strictly prohibited at all hours

Additional Guidance and Restrictions for Outdoor Dining

In addition to the restrictions on indoor dining, additional guidance and restrictions have been issued for outdoor dining at New Jersey food and beverage establishments. To the relief of many establishments, “outdoor areas” have been redefined to include open air spaces that either have no roof or cover or have a fixed roof or temporary or seasonal awning or cover, with at least two open sides that would comprise over 50% of the total wall space if the space were fully enclosed. These outdoor areas must also adhere to the following policies:

Limit seating to a maximum of eight customers per table (unless from an immediate family or same household), and arrange seating to achieve a minimum distance of six feet between parties

Encourage reservations for greater control of customer traffic

Cordon off any indoor or outdoor dance floors to the public

Require customers to provide a phone number when making a reservation to facilitate contact tracing

Consider alternatives to paper/physical menus (whiteboards, electronic menus)

Provide a hand sanitizer station for customers

Require customers who wish to enter the indoor portion of the establishment to wear a face covering, unless the customer has a medical reason for not doing so or is a child under two years of age

Require that groups stay six feet apart, even in areas where groups are not assigned seating

These COVID-19 restrictions, like all those directed at food and beverage establishments since the beginning of the pandemic, remain in flux as the infection rate changes. We remain vigilant in analyzing all information and guidance issued from the governor’s office and will further update you when we hear more.

One thought on “New Jersey Restaurant Industry Faces “Tipping Point “

  1. I remember back in the 80s when you only had a few restaurants in town. Not like today. There’s no way in hell they are all going to survive. The rent is too high. Some of them were hurting way before the pandemic.

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