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Gov. Phil Murphy. (Photo: Kevin Sanders for New Jersey Globe)

Murphy greenlights outdoor dining

By Nikita Biryukov, June 03 2020 1:38 pm

New Jersey restaurants will be allowed to serve seated, outdoor customers later this month under an executive order Gov. Phil Murphy signed Wednesday.

The order will allow restaurants to begin offering sit-in meals beginning June 15 under a set of yet-unannounced restrictions.

“Restaurants and bars will have to ensure that table seating individual groups are six feet apart, and they’ll have to abide by a number of safety and sanitization protocols will be issuing today,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he expects some of the state’s towns to provide restaurants with additional outdoor space — by cordoning off parking lots, sidewalks or streets — to allow restaurants to increase capacity while keeping patrons socially distanced.

Those decisions will be left to local officials.

“We recognize that municipal officials closest to the ground are in the best position to make these decisions that are both equitable and practicable and safe within their communities, and we welcome their efforts and partnerships,” Murphy said.

The Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control will also offer permits to liquor license holders that will allow restaurants to serve alcoholic drinks outdoors, though the municipality would have to approve the permit.

Those permits will last until at least mid-November, Murphy said.

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