June 04, 2020
Nonessential, in-person retail and outdoor dining are slated to resume in New Jersey on June 15. But like other parts of society and the economy that have begun to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis, there will be a number of health and safety protocols in place.
Restaurants and bars wishing to offer outdoor dining must limit parties to eight customers per table, and tables must be kept 6 feet apart from each other. Smoking is prohibited in any outdoor dining area as long as indoor dining remains banned.
Restaurants and bars can expand outdoor dining to areas such as sidewalks, streets, and parks with the permission of their municipalities. The complete list of the New Jersey's COVID-19 health and safety guidelines for outdoor dining are at the end of this article.
Stores must limit the number of customers inside to 50% capacity, and customers and employees are required to wear face masks indoors. Areas frequently used by employees must be sanitized.
The resumption of New Jersey's outdoor dining and nonessential retail comes as the state moves into the second phase of its reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic. Part of the Stage 2 also includes the reopening of hair salons and barber shops on June 22. Gyms and health clubs will also be allowed to reopen soon, but Gov. Phil Murphy has not given a specific date yet.
Other activities – such as indoor dining at a significantly-reduced capacity and museums and libraries – could also reopen. Those can resume if public health indicators continue to improve and the state’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing programs further expand.
But Murphy has warned that the process will not be quick, and that restrictions could be reimplemented if new COVID-19 cases or hospitalizations due to the virus spike.
In the meantime, New Jersey remains in the first stage of its three-phase reopening plan that the governor unveiled two weeks ago to gradually transition business and social activities to a "new normal."
Restrictions on low-risk activities have been relaxed, with health and safety guidelines put in place. Those measures have included the reopening of parks and beaches, the resumption of nonessential construction and the ability for businesses to offer curbside pickup.
During the peak of the coronavirus outbreak, only essential businesses were permitted to operate.
Stage 3 will allow for most activities and businesses to operate with significant safety measures still in place. It will permit critical in-office work and bars to reopen with limited capacities. Some entertainment options also will resume.
Murphy has said that social distancing and sanitation guidelines will be crucial until a COVID-19 vaccine or proven therapeutic becomes widely available.
New Jersey reported an additional 603 positive coronavirus cases on Monday to bring its total up to 162,530. The state recorded 92 new fatalities due to COVID-19, increasing the statewide death toll due to the virus to 11,970.
South Jersey has had 19,722 confirmed coronavirus cases and 1,148 deaths due to COVID-19.