TRENTON, N.J. – Governor Phil Murphy’s abrupt decision to continue the ban on New Jersey indoor dining has the state’s leading restaurant group hopping mad.
“Announced only 48 hours prior to the planned reopen date, and based solely on supposition and anticipation, this change will cause even more restaurants to fail,” New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association President/CEO Marilou Halvorsen said in a Monday press release, calling the Governor’s moving “another body blow” to the industry she represents.
The restaurant and hospitality industry has been the state’s hardest hit sector during the COVID-19 lockdown and ensuing recession. Many Garden State restaurants have closed for good during the pandemic citing lockdown measures as the cause of the closures. Given the last minute nature of Monday’s announcement, restaurants still in operation made expensive preparations for the July 4th holiday weekend – including placing food orders – the cost of which they will now need to eat.
Indoor dining had been set to resume on July 2nd. Murphy cited an uptick in new coronavirus cases in other states as the reason for his sudden change of policy.