TRENTON – Gov. Phil Murphy and New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced March 10 that New Jersey and New York City will expand indoor dining capacity to 50% beginning March 19.
According to a release, New Jersey and New York City restaurants are currently operating at 35% capacity, and the rest of New York state is operating at 50% capacity. This follows Cuomo’s announcement that restaurants outside of New York City will expand to 75% capacity beginning March 19.
“In New Jersey, we will continue to move deliberately, responsibly, and incrementally, guided by public health data,” stated Murphy. “We feel confident in this step given the improving metrics we have seen over the last several weeks in both New Jersey and New York City, as well as the continued ramp-up of our vaccination program. Our states will continue to work together to protect the health of as many residents as possible.”
“In New York State, our decisions are based on science and data and we are encouraged by the continued decline in infection and hospitalization rates,” Cuomo stated. “In partnership with the State of New Jersey, we have adjusted with rigorous testing and limited capacity indoor dining openings in New York City to expand to 50%. We will continue to follow the science and react accordingly. If we keep the infections down and vaccinations up, we will continue to stay ahead in the footrace against this invisible enemy and reach the light at the end of the tunnel together.”
These capacity increases are part of both state’s continued efforts to jump-start their post-Covid recovery and reinvigorate the economy. New Jersey last expanded indoor dining Feb. 5 During that time, the number of hospitalizations in the state has dropped by over 1,000 and has remained consistent.
Since New York City indoor dining was reopened Feb. 12, two Covid incubation periods have passed without any significant rise in infection and hospitalization rates. This expanded capacity is subject to strict state guidance.
Following Murphy’s announcement that he will expand indoor dining in the state to 50% capacity March 19, Sen. Mike Testa, Assemblyman Erik Simonsen and Assemblyman Antwan McClellan (all R-1st) released the following statement:
“It is extremely frustrating that the governor still hasn’t learned that one size does not fit all when it comes to Covid restrictions, in New Jersey.
“It is time to put away the axe and take a surgical approach if Murphy wants to save the economy. Limits that may make sense in the crowded confines of some of the state’s densely populated cities, especially in North Jersey, are unnecessary and foolhardy in southern New Jersey.
“Businesses in this part of the state have suffered greatly during the pandemic, as Murphy’s rules prevented many from even breaking even. The decision to open to half capacity now is of little consolation to the many locally owned businesses that have not survived.
“The towns in our district represent only a sliver – less than 2%– of all Covid cases in the state, yet they have suffered because Trenton insists on following a path that defies logic and common sense.”