Eleven weeks ago, Governor Murphy issued his stay-at-home order for New Jersey. Just last month, Governor Murphy announced plans to slowly reopen businesses in the state in phases. In order to progress to the next phase, COVID-19 numbers must show progress. By “progress”, that means fewer cases transmitted between residents. Earlier this week, the governor said that Phase 2 of his reopening plan begins on June 15th. That’s when Jersey Shore restaurants start to reopen for in-house dining again. Of course, to continue the positive path we are on, the governor also issued guidelines about how to handle this reopening safely and responsibly.
Jersey Shore Restaurants Open With Restrictions
Our beaches opened up for business again just in time for Memorial Day weekend. So, it was just a matter of time before our restaurants started opening back up again. Yes, many local restaurants offered take-out, delivery, and curbside service throughout the last 11 weeks. But this still seriously hurt their bottom line (and that of the people who work there). In just over a week, Phase 2 allows all restaurants to open their dining rooms to the public again. And we need to support our local businesses as much as we can. But we must also do so safely and responsibly. Governor Murphy realizes that local governments are more in tune with their communities. Therefore, he leaves the specifics of how to conduct business in this “new normal” to them. But, he did offer suggestions to help guide the process.
New Safety Guidelines for Restaurants
Tables should be spaced six feet apart and limit to no more than eight people at a table. Since this restricts the amount of tables inside of a restaurant, officials may allow outside dining in some places. Temporary permits will also be issued to those restaurants who apply to allow serving alcohol outside of their facility as well. This allows their patrons to enjoy alcoholic beverages while dining outside. Margate is already in talks to allow restaurants to set up tables in parking lots and the public rights-of-way outside their businesses for patrons to dine al fresco.
Restaurant employees must wash their hands upon entering the restaurant and several times throughout their shift. They should also wear gloves and masks. Tables and chairs must be sanitized after each patron finishes their meal. High use items like credit card machines should be sanitized after every use. Stop access to buffets, self-serve drink stations, and salad bars. Providing hand sanitizer at the hostess stand, cashier, and around the restaurant is highly recommended. Also, encourage patrons to make a reservation in order to limit group sizes.
These are just a few of the new guidelines you might see when you visit one of our Jersey Shore restaurants in the next few weeks. If we all do our part, we can get our state back to a new normal and keep our loved ones safe and healthy at the same time.