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

Murphy: ‘We’re almost there’ on indoor dining

Citing drops in virus positivity, transmission rates, Murphy signals indoor dining’s coming return

By Nikita Biryukov, August 28 2020 10:59 am

Gov. Phil Murphy said the state is nearly ready to reopen indoor dining Friday.

“We’re almost there,” Murphy said.

Indoor dining has been shuttered in the state since March, and Murphy’s administration scuttled a plan to allow the sector to reopen in late June over concerns that doing so would lead to a surge in new cases.

At the time, other states were seeing massive surges in COVID-19 cases, and indoor activities like dining were considered at least partly responsible.

“We’re getting close, with positivity rates around 2% or lower, rates of transmission that have now come down meaningfully below one, and they’re sustained,” Murphy said Friday. “This isn’t just one good day. They’re sustained. We’re getting very close to being able to take that step.”

Republicans have made indoor dining into one of their chief issues months into a lockdown that has seen the state’s revenues plummet sharply.

They argue the state could have afforded to reopen indoor dining in June, or even earlier, and have sought to blame Murphy for restaurant closures in the intervening months.

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